10 Tips to Improve Employee Training
September 28, 2010
Maintaining workers' skills and improving their performance are critical for companies looking to retain a competitive advantage. Consider these tips for providing better training without breaking the budget. As employees continue to struggle with cost-cutting measures that force fewer people to handle rising workloads, proper training is more vital to professional success than ever. For employees, training can strengthen workplace skills and lead to greater long-term job security. From an employer perspective, having well-trained workers is key to maintaining competitive performance and distinguishing a company from its rivals. According to a survey from international staffing firm OfficeTeam "As workers take on expanded responsibilities, it becomes more important for companies to offer professional development to help their teams keep up," OfficeTeam executive director Robert Hosking Not only does a concerted effort to provide employee training improve workplace performance and satisfaction, it also boosts workers' sense of stability and security within their positions by enhancing their value to the company. "Job security is on everyone's minds, and having up-to-date skills is the key to staying relevant and marketable," Hosking added. "By providing training opportunities, companies demonstrate they're committed to their employees' long-term career growth, and this can help with their retention efforts." The wide range of benefits conferred by employee training and development means that more workers are interested in participating in these types of programs when they are available. In fact, many prospective employees consider training opportunities an important factor when deciding whether or not to accept a job with a particular company. A recent survey from HR firm Robert Half "Many professionals want to build tenure with their firms, so offer assignments that allow them to expand their skills and support their efforts at professional development (e.g., provide tuition reimbursement, online training, time off to attend seminars, workshops or conferences)," Robert Half advises. Many companies may be reluctant to make a significant investment on training programs instead of devoting their resources to core business functions. However, there are several ways a business operating on a constrained budget can provide effective training opportunities. Workforce consulting firm The Performance Solution Launching a successful training program requires more than a financial plan, however. Business research firm Dun & Bradstreet
- Emphasize training as an investment. While the initial costs may seem high, stress within your company that training is a long-term investment in the development of your staff.
- Target your needs. Identify the specific skills you need to improve and the timeframe within which you'd like to meet your training goals to provide the optimal payback.
- Encourage a learning culture. Express to all employees that your organization cares about enhancing their skills and wants every worker - whether training or not - to remain competitive within their skill set.
- Include management. Bringing managers and company leaders on board with the new training initiative is a vital way to build support for the effort.
- Start small. Before rolling out a new program, test some aspects of your training system with a smaller group of people to gain feedback and fine-tune the process.
- Select high-quality instructors. Make sure the trainers hired are professional educators and that their materials can serve as valuable resources in the future.
- Pick a good space. A training location can strongly affect the quality of the learning, so make sure your training area has sufficient space and the necessary equipment, such as computers.
- Clarify your goals. Ensure that employees know the specific purposes for their training and how they connect to larger company goals. Remember to award those who perform well.
- Make it a continuous process. Don't limit your training to new employees, and try to bring in as many workers as you can who would benefit from additional training.
- Track the results. A training program won't be effective unless you monitor its progress. Choose a metric, such as productivity or profit, to help determine the return on investment for your training efforts and establish concrete results.