Bought In or Sold Out? – The Importance of Training

Time for some stats—as of the writing of this blog, there are 7.5 million unfilled job openings in the United States. On top of that, at any given time, nearly half of the millennial workforce plans to leave their current job in less than two years.

With a tight labor market and frequent job switching, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for companies to find the workers they need. This problem manifests in phrases like:

“We just can’t find people to do the work,” or

“People just aren’t loyal to a company anymore.”

Whether or not those phrases are correct is irrelevant. The problems are real, and companies who can accept them and take ownership will control their own destiny.

The best way to do this is by acknowledging the need for training and development—and going all in.


If Amazon’s doing it…

Earlier this summer, Amazon made a huge announcement—they’re retraining 30,000 of their US employees to prepare them for the skills needed in the future workforce.

If an industry giant like Amazon is so invested in training, we should all be taking notes. The benefits of training employees at this scale can be broken into two parts:

  • The ability to create the skills they need (the purpose of training and ultimate training objectives most people think of)
  • The ability to increase employee engagement (a little less obvious)


1. Mindset & Maslow

First, we’ll start with the less obvious benefit—the ability to increase employee morale and engagement.

Take any intro psychology course and you’ll stumble upon Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. In short, it’s the idea that everyone has needs that range from necessities like food, water, and safety, to emotional needs like companionship. 

The highest need is “self-actualization,” or in other words, “fulfillment of one’s life-purpose.”

Life purpose? How does this fit into training?

Because most people have some variation of the same life purpose—to contribute to something greater than themselves. Enter training.

People desire to be a part of something bigger than themselves, and to contribute to its growth. As companies realize this (see books like Start With Why by Simon Sinek), giving employees the opportunity to do their best work creates a culture of enthusiasm.

Go about training with that mindset, and you’ll have a culture where employees are “bought in” as opposed to feeling like they’ve “sold out.”


2. Libraries & Gyms

Onto the second benefit of training—actually developing necessary skills to get the job done.

To do this, there are many types of training and development, but they can be summed up in the following analogy: you can take your employees to the gym, or you can take them to the library.

In other words, you can take them to a place to learn information. This is beneficial for compliance training or accomplishing technical training objectives. Typically, this involves taking new hires into a classroom and framing the training with a few training objectives ppt slides, the need and importance of training about to take place, and a few employee training ppt slides focused on the material.

As mentioned, the power in this form of training is rooted in the stagnant nature of compliance and technical content. With low change over time, employees can “check the boxes” during onboarding or yearly trainings fairly easily.

However, I challenge you to take them to the gym instead. If we take new hires to the metaphorical training gym, the role of training is focused on getting employees up to speed as fast as possible.

Here, a different set of questions is needed. Instead of, “How do we get information to employees?”, we ask, “How do we get information to employees so that they consume it, learn it, and retain it in the fastest way possible?”

There are many tools out there that facilitate this type of knowledge transfer. However, without the right mindset around training, tools are irrelevant. Make sure your learning team is aligned first, then start the journey!

As companies continue to fight for talent and retention, those who can create a winning culture, as well as the skills they need, will be the ones that win long term.


Create a culture of buy-in with Lessonly

Lessonly is powerfully simple training software that helps teams learn, practice, and perform like never before. If you’re looking to unite your team with great training, easy-access to information, and better communication, let’s talk. We’d love to Do Better Work with you. Learn more by taking a tour or a demo of Lessonly today.

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