For many companies, training is the first ‘luxury’ which has its budget cut in times of financial restraint. Professional development can be expensive when you add travel and subsistence costs to the course fees.
Prohibitive costs discourage managers from adequately training their staff. So do we just abandon training until we are in a better financial position? Or would a lack of sufficiently knowledgeable staff have a detrimental effect on the business?
It is said that staff are a company’s most valuable resource. Well-trained employees will improve their skills and therefore perform better. But it isn’t just about skills. Building a training culture within an organisation and committing to a long term training strategy brings other benefits.
Training engages staff, bringing them into contact with others who have the same skills gap and training goals, and who work in the same field. It makes them feel valued as their knowledge is obviously considered to be important to the company, and this increases motivation and productivity, and therefore aids retention.
How can an organisation make sure their training works?
Firstly the company needs to plan training by creating a learning and development framework. The skills that staff need in different departments needs to be considered, so that managers can then to assess whether their staff possess those skills. Skills analysis needs careful planning before any training is scheduled.
Once it is agreed who needs a certain type of training, available courses need to be considered. Employees can attend external courses, a trainer /facilitator can be brought into the company to offer training to a group, online learning material could be utilised, or a blended approach where a combination of these methods is adopted. Attendance or release time could be staggered so that work can continue.
Even in a small company, a task such as this can be onerous. Training needs to be tracked, embedded, and monitored to ensure that it is working. Automating the whole process is a good option since the recording of such information allows the costs and expenses of training to be measured against the training activities. Training impact can be analysed, and plans for future events and refresher training can be more easily identified. You can click here to find out more.
After training, employees need the opportunity to utilise those skills straight away so that they become embedded in their psyche and do not just become a distant memory. The use of a mentorship system can also be valuable in embedding the new skills. Having a knowledgeable and experienced member of staff guiding those who are less experienced is not expensive and can help junior employees enormously. The mentor gains too in that they feel their credibility is enhanced and their feeling of self-worth increases.
Cutting training budgets is a false economy as inadequately trained staff will in the long term cost the company money, since they won’t have the skills to do the job well. In fact, training is one of the most important investments a company can make.