Learning & Development

Do Companies Take Too Long to Train Employees?

Companies take a wide variety of approaches to train new employees. Some may refuse to hire those new to the field and insist new hires have at least a couple years of relevant experience. These companies might devote minimal to no effort or resources to training, assuming that, based on their hiring policy, employees come to work equipped with all the skills they need.

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Even companies that do put effort into training often try to keep onboarding as brief as possible and focus only on the bare essentials. This is also a mistake because it increases the time it takes an employee to get up to speed and provide the value the company expects from a new full-time equivalent (FTE) employee.

Employee Time to Value

A recent brief titled The Future of Both In-Office and Frontline Work Demands Contextual Training and Faster Time to Value for Employees by 451 Research, part of S&P Global Market Intelligence, presents research findings on what it calls “employee time to value,” which is the amount of time it takes from onboarding a new employee to when the employee achieves an optimal level of productivity.

The brief tells us that “42% of new employees take six months or longer to add value at work, while 12% take a year or more, according to 451 Research’s Voice of the Enterprise: Workforce Productivity & Collaboration, Employee Lifecycle & HR 2020 survey.” If this seems like a long time, well, it is. Imagine an employee who costs $100,000 annually to employ—based on salary, benefits, and other costs—taking a year to provide value to the organization. That’s a $100,000 upfront investment that will be lost if that employee decides to take on a new job.

Early Training Investments Pay Dividends

Investing early on in robust, effective training can shorten a company’s average time to value and more than make up for the costs of that upfront training. The problem is that many companies try to get employees to work as soon as possible and either drag out their training or only provide the bare minimum.

While every business has time constraints and employers may genuinely need someone who can hit the ground running, it’s worth considering if it’s possible to frontload that training a bit more to speed up a new hire’s transition to a source of genuine value.