It’s not popular to say, but technology isn’t the answer to all your business problems. As a leader, you know that your people are the company’s most important asset. The true path to gaining operational efficiencies remains in your team and how they use technology, which means you’ll need to train and empower them.
Many managers say they want their workforce to learn and grow, and then leave their employees to manage their own professional development. The usual culprits are to blame for the gap between intention and action — time and money.
A recent CBT Nuggets study of 600 managers found that bandwidth is a concern for half of the organizations with 15 percent classifying it as a “major concern.” Meanwhile, your employees are already engaged in self-directed learning activities. One study of 28,000 learners ranked training as “very important” for their career development, and concluded that your employees are actively training regardless of whether the company provided it. That might sound like a freebie, but it’s a much bigger problem than you’d think.
It’s not enough to encourage or “allow” training at work, you need to develop your workforce with training investments, both in time and money. Improving employer-direct training steers your employees’ learning goals toward overall organizational improvement — as well as individual advancement. If you improve your employee training program, you’ll inspire innovation, increase productivity, and improve retention.
Individualized training inspires innovation
When your company sponsors online training, it gives your employees permission to learn. Companies like Google and Facebook rank curiosity as the most important quality in a candidate. That’s because curious people not only want to learn — they need to learn in order to stay happy. In turn, you need people who want to learn to be innovative.
First, let’s qualify the term innovation. The term gets thrown around quite a bit with disparate and varying definitions. Most academic circles agree that there are at least two types of innovation — sustaining and disruptive.
Disruptive innovation has been the topic of much recent discussion, mostly guided by the foundational book, The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen. He says that disruptive innovation isn’t just any shakeup in an industry. There’s a prescribed set of conditions that must take place for the incumbent businesses and also the newcomer. Ultimately, these seismic tossups leave everyone in an industry scrambling to change business models rather than shifting skill sets. We’d love to say that online training will launch your company in a disruptive innovation, but that’s typically not how it works.
We’re mostly talking about sustaining innovation, which means that a company gets better at what they’re already doing — something that training helps the company do very well. Individualized training can easily be tailored to meet both the interests of a self-selected individual learning path — as well as meet organizational requirements. While à la carte training can be planned on the basis of a need, structured training programs empower your people to learn.
If you think time will be an issue, consider this. Individualized online training providers like CBT Nuggets can easily be tailored to the individual, team, or organization across departments with a relatively low administrative time cost. A survey of 173 managers at large enterprises only spent 7.3 hours per month managing their CBT Nuggets training.
While it’s important to recruit curious people, your responsibility to them extends to their development as well. To achieve sustainable innovation means every employee should be given the tools to learn, as well as the permission to use them to enact organizational change.
Online video training helps reduce the transfer gap
Many times employees finish an off-site training program with a feeling that what they learned is useful, but it’s not put into practice. That’s called the “transfer gap” also known as “transfer of learning,” and it’s an organizational development issue that’s been examined thoroughly since the 1970s. Modern research concludes that when training occurs in a location other than the individual’s workspace, it creates problems with the transference of skills.
Online video training conducted during work hours in their workstation helps your people bridge the transfer gap — and apply what they learned to their day-to-day tasks. A survey of 1,024 CBT Nuggets learners found that 92% improved their productivity and quality of work.
Once a product champion has been allocated to the department, they can then go about creating a training policy that fits in with the company’s requirements. This means that only the most relevant functions that the application or system has to offer need to be taught to their specific members of staff, depending on their job function and operation requirements.
Training skills transfer within each department is, therefore, necessary to ensure that in the event of staff turnover and other changes, those valuable skills are not lost to the organization and training can still continue when it is needed.
There are many different ways to implement training, and each department will have its own preferences as laid out in their policy documentation. Informal training can be done in some instances where the learning curve is not too steep for users to become involved, while online training can be arranged for more learning-intensive applications.
The key takeaway from all of this is that you want to retain training capacity that is separate from the IT department, allowing for business units to transfer only the most relevant skills to their employees, while not being overly reliant on the IT staff.
Improve Employee Retention with Investments into their Future
How much do you spend on recruiting and hiring talented people? Probably quite a bit. The average recruiter takes 15 to 20% of an employee’s annual salary as a placement fee. Most companies rely on their benefits package to attract and retain employees. A holistic employee compensation philosophy attracts (and retains) people with benefits that not only support their life outside of work but also their career trajectory.
It’s true that high achievers are more likely to self-sponsor their learning efforts; however, self-sponsored learners are also twice as likely to see the acquired skills as a stepping stone to a new employer. Companies with individualized training programs retain their employees at a higher rate than companies that don’t. More than 80% of managers say training with CBT Nuggets improved staff retention.
Why spend money on training?
If you’re a company that emphasizes curiosity, innovation, and a culture of learning, then supporting your employees’ learning habits is as important a tool as their healthcare package.
Training can help improve the most fundamental functions without implementing a Taylorist model for information workers. (Put your stopwatch away.) Taylor got a few things right. His method of scientific management relied on the notion that small improvements improve productivity when compounded over all departments and divisions can equal larger sustainable innovation and higher levels of profitability for the enterprise as a whole.
Your investment into training is an investment in your people. Not only will they get the opportunity to transfer their educational interests into operational improvements, but also their future with the company.
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