Understanding Leadership Development, Its Costs — and Why Your Company Needs It
Updated: Jan 24
Most companies make it a practice to hire good people and promote leaders into management positions. But what happens when things fall stagnant, and once five-star employees aren’t living up to their potential? Realistically, there are two options.
The employer could fire those employees, wasting the time and money spent on that individual’s training and initial development, causing stress and upheaval within the department (perhaps even throughout the entire company), and resulting in the need to invest more in someone else in the hopes that they are a better fit. If any of those employees are in senior management or at the executive level, it will be a big financial hit. Turnover can cost anywhere from .5 to 2.5 times an employee’s annual salary — even more at the executive level.
The other option isn’t nearly as risky and offers a far better outlook: an employer could choose a better way by investing in leadership training — improving employees’ performance and experience while increasing the company’s total profitability.
While leadership training is often misunderstood, there is no mistaking the positive impact it can have on a company, both culturally and economically. Let’s dig into leadership training a bit more to discern exactly what it is, why companies need it, and how the investment can be worth it for your company.
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WHAT IS LEADERSHIP TRAINING, ANYWAY?
It’s been said before that people don’t leave jobs, they leave people. If you have managers who used to perform well but are no longer cutting it, it’s time to figure out why. That’s where leadership training comes in. Leadership training will assess the current state of the company culture and figure out what exactly is going on. Developing your leaders is one of the best ways to improve your company's growth and bring about new levels of innovation.
Leadership training is for any company or business that wants to grow and succeed. Whether it is an educational institution looking to uplift its teachers and staff or an industrial corporation that wants to get work done efficiently while having employees feel valued, leadership training can benefit them. For some employees, it can be as simple as learning to navigate how they can safely handle their emotions while on the job, as having this tool can propel their success. Small businesses also greatly benefit from training when all employees play a significant role in the company’s success. Chain stores or restaurants that want to expand can also embrace the skills taught in leadership training.
Here’s the reality: Leaders are developed, rarely born. With that said, some leaders coast along in the workplace simply because they have the common sense qualities that make a great leader. Things stay the same, and complacency takes over. And you guessed it— complacency doesn’t equate to economic growth.
The problem with not investing in the development of leaders is that not only is it insanely limiting, it can also, often unbeknownst to company leaders and executive staff, negatively impact a company. Sometimes, these leaders don’t know where to begin or what questions to ask. Despite this, it is the company’s leaders who impact a company’s profitability the most.
WHAT DOES LEADERSHIP TRAINING DO?
Leadership training is about tapping into and developing the skills that many leaders don’t realize they have — and that they need to have — when dealing with their people. It’s about providing straightforward advice that brings forth solutions.
Just like leaders delegate tasks to get more accomplished efficiently, leadership training elevates and empowers employees to make changes that better themselves and the company as a whole. It gives people the skills to be adaptable and able to embrace change; it gives people the power to say, let’s pivot and utilize this solution instead of considering challenges failures. As conflict arises (and it will), great leaders need to deal with it and be a positive example for the rest of the organization to follow. Leadership training gives leaders the skills to handle these situations in a way that benefits the company.
At the end of the day, employers cannot turn people into someone they aren’t. We don’t want to do that, and other trainers don’t want to do that. The goal of leadership training is to embrace your employees and uplift their positive qualities while working on those that, well, need a little work.
What does leadership training look like? It varies. Leadership training should never be a one-size fits-all approach. Sometimes training programs are selected without the leader’s skillset or existing knowledge being considered. Though there are programs that operate in that matter, that’s what makes our training unique. We tailor our programs to each company or team that we take on. It starts by getting to know your specific needs through an assessment. This is where we figure out strengths that need to be elevated and weaknesses that need to be addressed. From there, we clearly define what needs you have and create a process that will work for your employees and your company. The end-results can be astoundingly positive.
WHAT WILL LEADERSHIP TRAINING COST YOU?
Leadership training can be implemented in a variety of ways, and they all incorporate several modes of teaching and practice to ensure that those skills are absorbed by the employees. There are a myriad of programs that exist, varying in degrees of intensity and duration, and of course, cost. Prepare to invest a decent amount of money for basic consulting and even more for involved programs at large companies or educational institutions and vacation-like retreats. Because programs are often tailored to the number of participants or size of the company, duration, and intensity, prices vary significantly by company.
Almost everyone working in the corporate world has at least heard of a motivational speaker giving an address at an event. This is great, and in fact, we even deliver keynote addresses when asked. These are considerably less expensive than other training options. However, make no mistake: a keynote address is not leadership training. As such, it is priced accordingly.
For the most part, leadership training is an investment and something that occurs over a period of time. As the adage goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was leadership. We create a process that improves communication, builds on teamwork and adaptability, and renews the purpose for each employee.
Typically, leadership training includes on-site training sessions, coaching, and check-ins that can last anywhere from one month to a year or longer. Obviously, this is going to cost businesses far more than a keynote address. With that long-term investment comes incredible results. Having a real ROI from leadership training is achievable. In one instance, profitability increased by 11 million dollars in 9 months.
Here at iOne, we worked with a midwest retailer to teach them how to grow their company. They started with 22 stores and were stagnant. They wanted to exponentially increase their store’s reach. Since the training, they added 15 stores and were well on their way to expanding to a total 64 stores. Expansion, revenue, and overall profitability can all be improved by leadership training, making it far worth the up-front costs.
It doesn’t necessarily just have to be about expansion, though. In some cases, a company simply needs to figure out a way to reposition their company to achieve success. For example, a top global energy company used our Leadership Transformation process to adjust their business model. This pivot prepared them to easily handle new market conditions. We worked with their employees on gaining clarity so they could shift their mindset to set new, attainable goals. The leadership training they received positioned their company to reach new heights of success.
In order for employees to truly learn the techniques and employ the changes taught in leadership training, it takes repetition, reinforcement, and a clear process for success. While half-day and one-day training sessions are absolutely beneficial, especially as a refresher for those who have completed a longer leadership training program, they often don’t fully bring about the long-term change that executives and managers like to see. Think about it this way: if you took a one day seminar to learn a language, you might learn a phrase or two. If you invested in a longer term, supportive and immersive program, it’s pretty obvious that you would learn a great deal more. There are a number of challenges that leaders face, and though self awareness is an excellent first step, it takes work to address them.
Similarly, company retreats also offer short-term successes. Participants almost always leave refreshed and ready to jump back into work with a renewed sense of pride. We offer retreats and absolutely laude their benefits. However, it takes real training to deliver long-term results.
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP TRAINING ROI
In the United States, companies spent $166 billion dollars on leadership training. There are no bones about it — it is a big investment in the future of your company. Though there is a concern that taking employees away from their daily tasks can be harmful, it is important to know that the results of leadership training can be prolific. Looking for leadership development ROI? In one case, a company’s worth exploded by more than $825,000 to $1.1 billion after training with InitiativeOne. You read that right — $1.1 with a B as in BILLION. Leadership training brings about radical change for those who embrace it.
In thinking about your own company, you may be wondering where you fall. How much should you invest in leadership development? Only what it takes to guarantee the outcome you need. To be frank: every company could benefit from leadership training. With that said, some companies need it more than others.
Not making an investment in leadership training will have a considerable impact to your business, though it may be in ways that are not overtly apparent. In looking at today’s workforce, leadership training is inadequate. 69% of Millennials have stated there is a lack of leadership development. Like it or not, they are the future workforce with 10,000 baby boomers retiring each day. Millennials will leave a company high and dry if they feel that the company isn’t a right fit, even after being there for a year. A Gallup poll dubbed millennials the “job-hopping generation” as poll results indicated that 21% changed jobs in the last year — more than three times than that of non-millennials reporting the same. Even more hard to hear is that 71% of millennials expect to leave their employer within two years.
Investing in leadership training can prevent those from abandoning ship quickly, impacting your turnover rate. And as those in business know, high turnover rates can pervade every aspect of a company, limiting its ability to attract talent and retain the talent they have.
If your leaders aren’t leading the company to success, it can breed a stagnant and unhappy culture, which could lead to workplace toxicity. Unhappy employees are unproductive, and as a result, team performance suffers. Decreased employee development can and will decrease profitability over time. Who wants to give their all to a job they hate — or even one in which they’re just putting in their time? No one.
The positive results of leadership training are palpable within a company’s culture and in their bottom line. Most companies can’t afford not to invest in leadership training.
TIME TO TRANSFORM YOUR COMPANY WITH LEADERSHIP TRAINING
Ultimately, investing in leadership will transform your company. Leadership development can help you improve communication and teamwork, know where you're going, improve employee retention, and prepare for the future. Ready to realize the possibilities of investing in leadership training and transform your company? Let’s get to work.