Maximizing Employee Training and Development
Business needs change in the blink of an eye. Competition increases, gets more
complex through both technological advances and regulations, and certainly the
last two years haven’t helped anything. All this means a constant need for the
most talented, knowledgeable workforce possible. Companies have employee populations
that are multi-generational, location independent and not as company loyal as they
used to be. This has placed a premium on retention of valued employees and one of
the keys to that is continued training and development.
Training and development programs in this new business environment must take on a
broader role in an organization. Creating a comprehensive strategy that will keep
the company competitive and the employees on top of their game is one of the best
business decisions an organization can make.
But how does a company go about getting a training and development company moving
and what should the end goals be? Whether a company outsources the training or
decides to do it inhouse, there are several items to consider and benefits to garner.
The training and learning function of a company has five key goals:
Attract and retain talent
Because employees don’t stay at one company forever anymore, they want to
know that when they join a company their skills won’t stagnate on outdated
technology. An organization that is willing to invest in its people will
be rewarded with loyalty and increased engagement. Employees regularly list
“opportunities for training and learning” as one of the main reasons for
joining a company. And a lack of these will be a reason that an employee will leave.
Development of Capabilities
It will always be true that it’s easier to grow talent than to find it. Your
existing workforce is the best source when knew knowledge is needed for the
ever-changing business landscape. The knowledge base becomes obsolete more
and more rapidly these days and constant investment is required. And it’s not
just the technology and other hard skills. Companies that consistently rate
as high performers are those that are creating the next generation of leaders.
Soft skill training should be an equally important part of the strategic plan.
Build an Employer Brand
A company’s brand is one of its most valuable assets. It tells the story about
an organization’s overall financial health, market success and position in the
industry. A company’s commitment to training and development can brand it as an
“employer of choice” which will further augment its reputation. With the increasingly
mobile workforce, employers must compete in every way for the available talent pool.
Engage and Motivate Employees
Happy employees are more likely to work harder. The best way to engage employees
is to give them opportunities to learn and develop new skills. Learning leads to
happiness. See the beginning of this paragraph! When employees are challenged by
the chance to learn new skills and utilize that knowledge on the job, they are
more excited about their work and will be more loyal to the organization that
provided those opportunities.
How then can effective Employee Training and Development be delivered? There are many
ways that work with today’s more remote workforce as well as those that bring people
together in a more collaborative space.
Instructor-led traditional classroom training
Technology-driven virtual classrooms - enable employees to train from anywhere but live with an instructor
E-Learning - Flexible employee training which they can do on their own time with videos, text or audio lessons that can be accessed from anywhere
Mobile learning - learning through a mobile application
Blended learning - a hybrid of some or all of the models listed above
And what should be in an Employee Training and Development Program? If the company is starting
from square one, consider these guidelines:
Target Soft Skills - This was identified as a key training target in 2021 and is expected
to be so for the foreseeable future. Developing critical thinking, communication and
interpersonal skills will continue to be essential.
Personalize Employee Development - As long as the unemployment rate stays low, employees
are going to need to feel valued and appreciated. This will go a long way toward filling
that need. Whether it’s in the specific field of work or a plan working toward a promotion,
find a way to personalize training as much as possible.
Emphasize Digital Learning - This is of course in response to COVID and the workforce
moving more remote. It reduces the resistance to learning if staff knows they won’t be
stuck in a windowless conference room for days or even better if they have control over
when and where they do the training.
Create a Training and Development Plan - It won’t work just to throw a catalog at the
company and call it good. Successful training and development require planning and careful
decision-making to maximize money, time and resources to get the most out of it. Then the
company and the employees see the benefits more clearly.
these future leaders.
Closing skills gaps, staying competitive, attracting great talent, motivating
employees…companies have so many excellent reasons to have a fantastic employee
training and development program. Go get yours started today!