Investing in an employee’s future can make or break a business.

Every year more than $500 billion is lost due to employee disengagement, according to management consultant Guthrie-Jensen.

In the United States, 32 percent of employees are engaged in their work, but worldwide, only 13 percent of employees are engaged, according to management consulting company Gallup.

“The world has an employee engagement crisis, with serious and potentially lasting repercussions for the global economy,” Gallup wrote.

However, offering workforce development and training could help boost productivity and retain talent.

“When employers provide staff with workforce development opportunities, they give employees the opportunity to enhance their knowledge and skills, which improves employee morale and loyalty,” Jill Seamans, public information officer for the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES), said. “By investing in talent, employers benefit from a well-trained labor force.”

According to the Association for Talent Development, companies that offer comprehensive training programs have 218 percent higher income per employee than companies without it. The companies also have a 24 percent higher profit margin.

Diego Gettler, relationship director for Arizona-based women’s health care provider MomDoc, said his company developed its own learn to earn program named “MomDoc Learn,” which provides employees with the opportunity to take courses such as personal finance, exercise, medical Spanish, company culture, and more.

“I think we all have a desire to want to progress and when we’re learning new things, we satisfy that desire and I think we’re happier in the workplace, we’re happier to be involved in the company that is willing to make that type of commitment and investment,” Gettler said.

According to Seamans, the DES ARIZONA@WORK initiative — that has the primary goal of supporting Arizona’s employers by preparing unemployed individuals for the workforce — can help companies train current employees to increase skills and prevent unneeded turnover.

“ARIZONA@WORK supported more than 1,100 businesses to create apprenticeships that employ 4,500 apprentices in increasingly diverse sectors,” she said.

With 74 percent of employees feeling they are not reaching their full potential according to The Learning Wave and 36 percent of employees saying they would quit a job making more money to be happier at work according to Officevibe, workforce training and development can be especially useful for small businesses.

“When smaller businesses provide employee enhancement opportunities, it allows them to equip their current labor force with up-to-date labor market qualities that can make them competitive with larger businesses without the need to hire new staff,” Seamans said.

“Workforce development I think can help in that aspect of retaining talent, but also there’s a lot of individuals here who because of lack of resources, they need someone to just reach down and help pull them up… I think we just need more of that for our state in general,” Gettler added. “At the end of the day, people need confidence, they need confidence in their ability. So, my primary objective is to build [an] individual’s confidence. That’s what I think workforce development programs can do.”


This story was originally published at Chamber Business News.