The Business Costs of Poor Training

The Business Costs of Poor Training

Damian Hehire-learning

The Business Costs of Poor Training

In some businesses, training is viewed as a cost. As with most costs, the objective is usually to keep them to a minimum. When it comes to training, this often means reducing the quality to meet a cost objective. Of course, reducing the quality of training is not the desired outcome, but it is inevitable if the focus is on minimising costs.

The better approach is to view training as an investment that will deliver a return. When you look at training from this perspective, it is possible to assess the other side of the training cost equation – the cost to the business of poor-quality training.

Low Productivity

Good quality training makes employees feel valued, and it gives them a boost to know the company they work for is investing in them. Skills levels also rise with good quality training, increasing confidence and productivity.

The opposite happens with low-quality training. When training is poor, employees feel undervalued, reducing morale and productivity. Employees will also struggle to learn new skills with low-quality training, impacting confidence in their capabilities and reducing productivity even further.

There are multiple ways of boosting productivity in your organisation, from automation to optimised workflows to improving processes. Offering high-quality training to your employees should be part of the mix, too, as other ways of boosting productivity will not fully counterbalance the negative impacts of poor training.

Dissatisfied Workforce

Today’s employees want to progress in their careers. They also know they need to develop new skills to achieve their goals. Company training is a crucial component of developing new skills, but employees will struggle if the training is low-quality. This can lead to an unhappy workforce, with employees feeling they have little opportunity to progress.

The cost of an unhappy workforce can be substantial. For example, unhappy workers are less engaged and have higher rates of absence.

Providing training is not the only solution to ensure your employees are satisfied and happy, but it is an important piece of the puzzle.

Increased Employee Turnover

High employee turnover rates are costly to businesses, with those costs exacerbated if your industry is suffering from a skills shortage. Even if the employment landscape is stable, it makes more financial sense to retain employees than to be forever on the recruitment treadmill of hiring a new employee, training the new employee, the new employee getting up to speed, the new employee leaving, and you are back to the start again.

Good quality training can have a positive impact on staff retention rates, reducing employee turnover.

One of the reasons for this is that staff who are happy and feel valued are more likely to stay with you, but the big wins come in career development and progression. Research by IBM has found that employees are 12 times more likely to leave their job if they feel it is not possible to achieve their career goals. As training is usually linked to career progression, it is important to continuously improve the skills of your team.

Low Adoption Rates

One of the objectives you might have for training your employees is to change behaviours. This could be training on a new system or process, or on how to use a new machine or software application. A crucial measurement of success with this type of training topic is the rate of adoption after the training is complete, i.e., have employees changed the way they do things?

Maximising behavioural change can be challenging, particularly in situations where employees have high levels of comfort in the old way of doing things. If the training on the new approach is low-quality, you will find it difficult to get employees to make the necessary changes in their day-to-day activities.

In other words, the training will largely be a wasted effort. This has a direct cost (the cost of preparing and delivering the training), but there are other costs as well, including the business costs of not achieving the behavioural change that is needed.

The more prudent approach is to invest in high-quality training from the beginning. With high-quality training, you can get employees fully engaged with the new way of working, they will have confidence they know what they are doing, and they will have the opportunity to practice. This will lead to much higher adoption rates and the behavioural change the business requires.


Errors in business can be costly, especially when those errors relate to compliance or health and safety issues. It isn’t just the direct financial cost of errors, either, as there can be other impacts that can have cost implications. Those impacts include reputational damage or failing to win a contract, both of which can happen because of human error.

Training is an important part of minimising errors in your business, but it won’t be effective if the employees don’t fully engage. That requires high-quality training.

Role of E-Learning

The summary of the above points is there are real costs to the business when you offer low-quality training to employees. Viewing training as an investment will boost quality and ensure you avoid these costs while also generating a return.

Maximising returns from training investments is also important. This is where e-learning can play a crucial role. With e-learning, you can reduce the cost of delivering training while also enhancing quality, generating better business outcomes and training investment returns.