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Why Your Company Needs A Staff Development Programme In the current difficult economic climate, competition in most business sectors is more intense than ever. This may lead some business owners to consider cutting back on some types of expenditure not directly related to the bottom line. However, investment in a staff development programme is one expense that should not be cut back. Research has shown that this is an investment which directly contributes to improvement in competitive edge. Although these programmes can be beneficial to virtually any business, there is no set formula as to the form that they should take. It depends very much on the structure of the organisation, and on the particular needs of the employees. For example, the programmes can be delivered on either a formal or an informal basis. Formal programmes usually involve employees attending courses, conducted by external or internal training providers. These are likely to consist of talks or lectures with visual aids, in conjunction with interactive activities, such as case studies, discussions in small groups, or role plays. For these programmes to be costeffective, ideally they should be aligned with the specific learning needs of employees. Informal development is more likely to be carried out while employees continue their normal work. One way it is often done is through a mentoring scheme, in which a newer worker is teamed up with a more experienced worker, who helps with advice and feedback. Feedback may also come from managers through regular appraisals, and in a good system, employees will be monitored, to check how far the feedback has been put into practice. However the employee development is carried out, there is no doubt that it delivers substantial benefits to the company. The obvious benefit of course is the increase in productivity and efficiency, as the employees are enabled to achieve a higher level of competence. This will almost certainly result in the second major benefit, that of increased job satisfaction and higher morale. In turn, this is likely to lead to much greater employee retention, which represents a huge saving to the company in the costs of recruitment and induction of new staff. It is also likely to mean a big reduction in absenteeism, sickness and lateness, and in their associated costs. There is no doubt that the growth and development of employees is a necessary condition for the growth of a company. This is why a well-designed staff development programme has been shown to make all the difference between a company that struggles, and one that is successful. It is clear that investment in this area will show measurable dividends, in terms of employee performance, company profitability and increased market share. More Knowledge on: