WHILE I am aware this is a subject close to my heart, I think it needs to be said again: There are significant benefits to building a training culture within your organisation as well as committing to a long term and consistent training strategy.
Training isn't about just skilling; it's also about developing people and building a more sustainable, less risk susceptible organisation.
Research has identified that not enough businesses are investing in professional development for their staff.
A white paper compiled by the recruitment company Hays reveals that only 67% of businesses are dealing with the skills shortage by training existing workers.
Just over half of the employers surveyed rated training as the best way to deal with the problem, yet Hays considers professional development a key strategy in the fight.
Most organisations find it easy to cut the training budget. But over time these decisions reduce workforce productivity, and there's nothing more expensive than employees who do not have the skills to do their jobs well.
Remember that training is also an engagement and retention tool; it brings people together into a common culture.
Businesses need to be prepared to plan appropriately for implementing a learning and development framework.
When doing so, it is important to first examine organisational values and have a clear objective of what you want to achieve out of a professional development or skilling plan.
In terms of actual training programs, before they begin, consider the level of knowledge of your employees and tailor the program accordingly.
After the program, ensure there are ample opportunities to embed the new skills and staff are able to apply their new skills quickly.
If they go back to the job and don't have an opportunity to practice and don't have the freedom to make mistakes, they're not going to use the skill and it's going to deteriorate and you have wasted your money on that training program.
Mentoring is an ideal and relatively inexpensive way to embed learning.
Consider using experienced and mature staff that can guide and teach young staff members. It is often well received by the more experienced employees because it gives them an extra bit of credibility and a feeling of self-worth.
My single biggest recommendation to organisations is to not think of training as a one-off experience.
When you plan a training session now, think about what you want to offer next year and what you're going to do next week when the staff come back to the job.
Training is one of the most important investments an organisation can make.
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