Organizations depend on adequately trained employees to keep them competitive and profitable. Training helps workers acquire the behaviors, skills, abilities, and knowledge they need to do their job and prepare for future advancement. Long-term employees and new hires alike all need to sharpen and update their skills to meet the challenges of the modern workplace. A strong emphasis on training gives firms an efficient path to improving employee satisfaction and productivity.
Understand the Importance of Training
Despite technological advances that continue transforming the workplace (enterprise gamification, rich media, e-learning, etc), human resources continue to represent the most valuable asset available to businesses. Employees produce goods, provide services, and interact with customers and suppliers in ways that can either support or detract from the effectiveness of an organization. Workers who have doubts about their abilities, fail to understand procedures, and act inappropriately with stakeholders tarnish the reputation of their employer and cause significant losses in productivity and sales.
Although employee training programs help employees improve themselves, they should always have a connection to the needs of the company. Businesses must find ways to stay at the forefront of their industry as new trends and technologies become relevant. Meanwhile, a growing dependence on teamwork to deliver a competitive advantage requires workers to develop social and collaboration skills. Without a training plan in place, businesses will quickly become obsolete and irrelevant as agile competitors take their place.
Employee training helps businesses prepare for the future. Companies always have a particular amount of employee turnover, so they must have a career development plan that prepares employees for positions of leadership. Supervisory, management, and executive positions filled by promoting existing workers reduces recruiting, hiring, and training costs and provide opportunities for advancement that motivate employees.
Design Effective Training Programs
Rather than randomly scheduling training or educational events, companies should systematically develop training programs to meet their particular needs. The instructional design process assesses training needs, prepares workers for training, and plans how to perform the training.
The needs assessment should begin by defining what organizations need, the availability of training resources, and how management will support training. Analyzing the workforce focuses on identifying people, departments or teams that have performance deficiencies. This information will help determine what topics the training should cover. Finally, companies must decide what tasks require training, the tools needed to perform those tasks, and how they will evaluate the performance of those functions.
The planning stage sets the objectives for the training program, prepares trainers and identifies appropriate training delivery methods. Managers can employ tactics including on-the-job training, computer-based-training, classroom training, game-based learning, simulations, and team training to provide a dynamic training experience that will keep employees motivated and engaged. With plans in place, organizations can implement training programs and evaluate their outcomes. Below are learning principles that enhance the effectiveness of training.
- Provide training that relates to an employee’s current tasks and experiences.
- Allow employees to practice and demonstrate their new knowledge and skills.
- Define measures of success, so trainees can evaluate their progress in real time.
Every stage of the training process should have provisions for trainers and trainees to provide feedback that can help improve the training process.
Access Training Resources
Some companies have the available resources to organize an in-house training program equipped with the budget, tools and people needed to provide the required training for their workforce. The ability to train many workers for little additional cost can make the in-house approach surprisingly affordable.
Smaller companies might not have the capacity to hire the intellectual assets needed to create and execute an ongoing training effort. In many cases, businesses can depend on vendors and suppliers to provide training for their products and services at a subsidized cost. Depending on the situation, firms can also access training services offered by industry and trade associations. Free and premium online training programs provide additional affordable opportunities for training.
Training can help companies stay competitive and profitable by ensuring the availability of needed skills and behaviors. Businesses that take a systematic approach to the design and implementation of employee training prepare themselves to adapt to changing market conditions and labor requirements.