Yes, employees deserve to be trained, but from — the company’s perspective — it’s imperative.
You’ve heard it a million times. “Our employees are our most important asset.” But if that’s the case, why do so few companies have programs to nurture and develop those assets? It’s as if a manufacturing company omitted a maintenance plan for their lathes or drill presses. Translating the machine analogy back to people — we see that recruitment, the setting of personal and team objectives, management guidance, performance assessment, career development, and training are all essential to company success.
All organizations should have a well-defined and fully supported education program — formal training, informal training, or probably a mix of both. Why? Because it helps deliver value:
- Tool for employee recruitment. It’s easier to recruit people if they know that they have support to grow personally and professionally. And with a defined on-boarding program, there’s less risk and expense of new employees bailing out fast.
- Improved organizational efficiency. Each person receives training relevant to their responsibilities and role, helping improve overall productivity and performance. As you train in industry best practices, you can stand out from your peers.
- Develop and retain employees. As employees receive training and guidance for current and future responsibilities, they are less likely to consider outside alternatives. They’ll also become more valuable contributors to the organization as they gain knowledge and experience.
- Succession planning. By nurturing and developing your own people, you can fill management and leadership openings from within. It’s much better for morale, less expensive, and less risky than bringing in outsiders.
Of course, training will not work on its own. It must be endorsed by the entire management team, as part of an organization-wide performance and people management program.
Regardless of the type of organization — here are some best practice training areas:
- Onboarding. It’s expensive to recruit new employees, so it’s imperative that newbies are welcomed with an intensive training experience. They need to be introduced to the organization — its position in the industry, its culture, and its values. They also need to be onboarded by their manager and introduced to their extended work team and roles.
- Functional training: learning their job. In some cases, you’ll want to have formal training on particular jobs. For example, in service positions where you have specific processes, systems, and expectations for interactions with customers. But even when a person joins with relevant technical skills, such as a network administrator, for example, they’ll still need guidance on ‘how we do things here’. In these cases, assigning a senior team member as a mentor may make sense, or as their manager, you can undertake that yourself.
Train on new initiatives. As new systems, products, or initiatives are introduced, they must be accompanied by related training programs. For example, let’s say that you adopt an agile development process, a cybersecurity regime, or an IT service lifecycle process. These will touch every employee’s job in some way and should be supported by training at the level relevant to them. Such training can be developed in-house, or acquired readily from sources such as CBT Nuggets.
Train with a specific organizational improvement in mind. At a department level, you may see a particular need for team improvement in soft or hard skills. Soft skills include communication, making decisions, self-motivation, leadership skills, team-working, creativity and problem solving, and time management.
Personalized training plans — Each employee (yourself included) should have a training plan. These plans should be based on business and individual needs discussed and agreed as a part of each person’s management mentoring and review process. If undertaken diligently with all team members, you should have a plan that will gradually turn a B-team into a team of A-players.
Preparing ‘stars for superstardom’ — Whether it’s for management or technical positions, you need to be looking at employees who are capable of operating at the next level. Again as part of your management process, identify specific skills and experiences they’ll need to make the step. Training may be involved, although you should also consider special projects and rotational work assignments for best effect.
In general, people like to learn. They also like to work in organizations where they see an opportunity to develop personally and professionally. A culture of learning is valued and will pay dividends.
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Merhar, C. (2016, February 4). Employee Retention – The Real Cost of Losing an Employee. Retrieved January 24, 2018, from http://www.zanebenefits.com/blog/bid/312123/employee-retention-the-real-cost-of-losing-an-employee
SkillsYouNeed.Com (n.d.). What Are the Most Important Soft Skills? Retrieved January 24, 2018, from http://www.skillsyouneed.com/general/soft-skills.html