A successful business needs to have a formal and ongoing training strategy for employees. Not only to succeed in the current fight for talent but also to ensure employees are safe, have up-to-date skills and therefore support the company’s ongoing success.
In addition, no two employees are the same, and each employee is going to have strengths and weaknesses. A formal training programme will help to address those weaknesses while enhancing their strengths. With the right systems in place, a formal training process tailored to the needs of the organisation is quick to establish, however, its continued success will depend on how easy it is for managers to implement those courses and monitor the skillsets of their teams on an ongoing basis.
Training employees as a manager
Managers are the ones “in the trenches” with their employees, so have the best sense of each employee’s capabilities, and are best placed to provide feedback, coaching and encouragement. In some instances, it’s the manager’s job to ensure a well-trained team who is up to date with their licences and credentials.
As a manager though, you might not know exactly what training should be applied. However, you might know if there’s something missing. The “great resignation” continues to define workplace culture at the moment, and when 94 per cent of employees say that they would stay if their employer invested in their development, it’s clear that training is the greatest shield a company has from losing its own skilled people.
However, research also shows that, overall, managers are struggling to meet the training needs and goals of employees. Too many expect that the employee will take training on themselves. While some personal responsibility is reasonable, it still falls on the manager to drive a culture of training across their teams, and then ensure that the tools that the employees need to do their training are available and accessible.
This can be broadly achieved in two ways:
Managers can use communication tools and meetings to emphasise the value of training. Performance reviews and one-to-one meetings should be opportunities to make the employee aware of upskilling opportunities, and on-the-job assessments can be used to encourage the employee to identify opportunities to undertake training in “real-time”, with little downtime.
2) Creating opportunities for on-the-job practice
Managers can effectively drive a culture of training by establishing “safe to fail” spaces to encourage experimentation and discovery (employees that never test themselves will never understand where their competencies and comforts lie). In addition, using visual success measures through performance charts showing progress aims to keep employees motivated.
Improving the training of employees
Having the right learning material or assessments is, of course, important to ensure that the training programme is accessible, effective and achievable. One important consideration is to ensure that the training is available to the employees on their terms.
Events over the past few years have made it clear that flexibility and respecting the work/life balance of employees are essential. Now, where possible, employees expect to be able to work from home and work outside of the 9-5 hours. The training programme needs to meet those same expectations, otherwise, employees are likely to overlook or shirk training opportunities, undermining the success of any programme.
Providing training via on-demand webinars or videos to enforce the learning objectives that have been delivered during in-person training, is one example of how this can be achieved. Another is establishing online discussion forums for group training projects, rather than having a mandated group meeting session.
Being flexible also means giving employees the ability to undertake their training in a way that is comfortable for them. For example, some employees may feel much more comfortable with micro-learning opportunities from mobile apps, and rich, interactive media formats. Others may prefer more traditional course material and more formalised training structures. Providing the same training material in different formats, that allow employees to learn in their own way, will help drive a successful company-wide training programme.
How to communicate the value of employee training and development
If employee buy-in and engagement is the goal, it’s important that training comes across as a collaborative engagement between employee and employer, rather than a mandatory, dictated process. It may well be the case that the training is essential for compliance or accreditation purposes, but the outcomes will be better if the employee understands the benefits that it provides to them.
For the employee, training is a way of highlighting future leadership potential, with experienced and highly skilled employees more likely to be successful in stepping up into senior roles within the organisation. It’s also often a pathway into new roles within the business and reflects well in performance reviews when it comes time to negotiate pay increases and the like.
Making employee training easier
The message is clear, for managers to be able to effectively upskill and engage their teams they need great fit-for-purpose software to assist them. Less time will be spent on the admin and more on the coaching, developing and engaging. Employees will feel empowered to access their learning wherever they are at a time that suits them.
Keen to learn more? Have a quick chat with one of the team members who will listen to your employee development requirements.
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