In business, you take risks. Some may be more calculated than others, but the only way to grow is to take them on. One corporate risk that continues to weigh on the minds of IT management is: What if we train our employees and they leave? Or, what if we don’t and they stay? Both options pose some risk, but that risk can be manageable.
It’s nearing the end of the year and many organizations are setting their budgets for 2014. While training continues to have an associated risk, many organizations are quick to eliminate the expense from a budget when times are tough. The financial expense of training is only half the equation, however. The time away from the job also poses an issue. Do you have the available resources to cover while that employee is out training? This can be especially difficult for some IT departments as certifications can be expensive and staff can be out of the office for up to ten days putting a strain on his or her department.
So, why then, should an organization consider sending their IT staff to training? There are a multitude of reasons. According to CompTIA and International Data Corporation (IDC), research has shown that over 50% of computer errors or significant downtimes within an organization are caused by human error attributed to a significant lack of training on core systems. A 2009 IDC survey concluded that unscheduled downtime was, on average, 20% lower in organizations with more certified IT staff. CompTIA found that a mere 7% of organizations truly feel their IT employees’ skill levels are exactly where they want them to be.
Helping employees to build their skill sets also promotes job satisfaction. It allows them to contribute more back to the organization with higher quality work and more professionalism. Performance can increase up to 11% with certified staff and drastically improve the organization’s uptime. Employees feel more satisfied and engaged in the organization, and thereby reduce employee turnover. Offering training to IT staff also establishes a sense of trust and commitment from the organization to the employee.
When considering the advantages of training an IT staff, there is one advantage that greatly improves your bottom line. What may seem like a large expense, in the cost of training, is really a short-term minimal investment in IT staff that can result in long-term benefits and dividends. Arming your staff with the knowledge to better utilize existing IT infrastructure can save an organization immensely. Staying up to date on technologies through certifications can keep your systems running more smoothly with less human error. Certified staff will also be better equipped to provide planning for your organization’s IT future rather than relying on someone else to inform them changes are in dire need.
An IT professional with a Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE), Microsoft Certified Information Technology Professional (MCITP), Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), or Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) certification was in high demand by organizations in 2013. You can be sure that these and other certifications will be sought after in 2014 as well. No matter what IT hardware or software an organization is using, there is almost certainly some form of training available. Training is typically easy to find and is offered in many areas, including online.
The benefits of having certified IT staff within an organization far outweigh potential risks. The best thing you can do for your IT staff is to take that risk. Improve your bottom line, increase your employee morale and build your organization for the future.
Originally published November 2013 in The Business News publication Technology Section &
on the Heartland Business Systems company blog.