Employee Training & Development: Expense vs Investment?

Sports teams spend what is a seemingly ridiculous amount on their players and a lot of people question, ‘Why?’ Well, for the owners of the organizations doling out the millions of dollars to pay these athletes they must feel that the players are worth it. But do these owners feel that this is simply just an expense or do they see these players as an investment in the future of their organization? I would argue the latter, that these players are an investment and the teams that make the best investments are the ones that out perform their opponents.


Just like sports teams, businesses invest in team members too, and in both cases it is usually the players and employees that are responsible for the results.
Whether you agree or disagree with the salaries that professional athletes receive, one thing that can be said is they keep a rigorous training schedule. On average most athletes receive 20 hours of quality training per week, which, added to time spent working out and playing games, usually adds up to around 40-50 hours per week working on their craft.

Owners of professional sports teams are obviously very concerned with providing the best assistance they can afford to their players to help ensure success. Owners show their commitment in the dollars they spend hiring coaches, trainers and support staff to give their athletes the best possible environment for success, as well as the time they allow for their players to train. Prior to the start of any season the teams go through rigorous training camps to ensure everyone is fit and ready for the upcoming challenges, and individual players go through assessments during camp to see where they need to improve by the start of the season.
Businesses can take a few lessons from the sports world when it comes to training. Most businesses today look at training like it is an expense when really it should be viewed as an investment. Just like in sports your people are your performers. Do you give them the time, resources, and support they need to be fit and ready for their upcoming challenges?


According to research by the OECD, Canada is lagging in comparison to other countries when it comes to participation in job-related training with less than 30% of adult workers having participated in training. Spending-wise Canada has recorded expenditures on training about half that of firms in the United States. If we take sports as an example, the teams who train hard are the teams that perform. Some may argue that the teams that win have the best players, this may be true, but the best players got to be the best by spending their time investing in their own training.

There are countless positive reasons for businesses to invest in training, including: reduction in errors or defects, increased motivation, higher retention rates, and reduced injuries (lost time or otherwise). As leaders and managers, you are responsible for the success of your organization, and developing your people massively increases your chance of success.

The problem is that it is not always easy to know where to start when planning on how to develop your employees. Industry in Alberta identified a gap in resources when it comes to workforce development planning . Attracting and retaining highly skilled and quality employees is harder than ever in Alberta. Productivity Alberta in collaboration with Alberta Enterprise and Advanced Education’s Workforce Partnership Program understood this need and responded with the Workforce Development Toolkit.


The Workforce Development toolkit provides all the information you need to understand the importance of workforce development, assess your needs, build a plan, and execute in your organization. Building capacity within your organization, and investing in your people is vital, especially in the increasingly competitive Alberta business market. This resource is available at your fingertips and provides you with all the tools and templates you need to begin your workforce development plan. The value of training is hopefully something you already see and the toolkit gives you all the tools for making it a reality in your business.
Visit the Workforce Development Toolkit today and start working toward your own Workforce Development Plan.

You wouldn’t invest in new machinery and then leave it to rust – the same rule applies to your people. Your people are an investment – you can’t afford to let them rust either.

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