Why Employee Training and Development is Vital in the Workplace
Most successful organisations put a strong emphasis on training and development. It’s no secret that the benefits far outweigh the cost, however, many companies still fail to see the importance. Some businesses feel that once they ‘teach someone the ropes’, their job is done. If an employee can do the role they were hired for, then that’s enough. But the truth is, training and development go far beyond helping someone perform their job.
Let’s take a look at the different ways you can offer training and development courses to your staff, and why it’s so important.
The different types of training and development
There are several ways that people can learn new skills, refresh existing skills, or enhance their capabilities. Everybody learns differently, so it’s important to provide a range of options. Some people learn by doing. Others retain more information if they learn in an engaging classroom environment, while others prefer to go at their own pace with tools like eLearning. So, as an organisation, you need to cater for a range of different learning styles.
This is what we might also refer to as ‘classroom training’. A skilled trainer designs a course and facilitates it to a group of participants. It might involve group activities, problem-solving games, general discussion and a range of other ways to keep people engaged. For facilitated training, engagement is the key. If you keep people interested, they’ll learn a lot more than if you just stand at the front of a room and deliver dry content.
Many people enjoy the interactive nature of this training, and you can use it for almost any topic. Sometimes you may send staff to an off-site training facility, or if you have internal trainers who have gained training and development certification, you can run inhouse training on skills specific to your business.
Not all training is formal. Ultimately, people are going to learn a lot while simply doing their job and seeking help when required. However, you can still add a little structure to this if necessary. Buddy systems often work well, where a new staff member has a mentor to guide them through the early stages. You can even implement more regular catch-ups with new staff to check on their progress.
It’s loved by some and despised by some at the same time. When people think of eLearning, they often picture clunky systems that cycle through a bunch of boring slides. It should be noted that eLearning has come a long way since its inception, and it no longer needs to be boring. Training developers can now create quite engaging eLearning courses, and they’ve become more important than ever since the Covid-19 pandemic.
The fact is, eLearning is a cost-effective, convenient way for people to learn. You’ve got flexibility in when you complete training, and staff don’t need to feel rushed. Many people retain more information if they can thoroughly read the content and immerse themselves in it.
Virtual online classrooms
Finally, there’s the extension of eLearning known as virtual classrooms. In fact, this is more of a hybrid between classroom training and eLearning. Classes are held online, meaning it’s convenient for people to attend wherever they are. But the beauty is, the courses are still facilitated. There are several types of virtual classrooms – some are done via video, some are audio-only. Most have a chat function though, and the ability to raise your hand and ask a question.
In many ways, it’s the perfect mix of the engagement you get from attending facilitated training and the convenience of eLearning.
The benefits of training and development
So, why is learning and development so important? If people are already good at their jobs, what do they need to learn? Well, humans are curious by nature. We thrive on acquiring new knowledge and skills. Even those who may hate the idea of formal study still want to learn more and more about the world around them. Let’s take a look at the many reasons you need training and development in your organisation.
Staff become better at their jobs
Firstly, and perhaps most obviously, training and development make people better at their job. All businesses strive for better productivity and efficiency. So, it stands to reason that highly trained staff will perform their roles better and be more productive.
Of course, the best training depends on the job itself. To help staff perform at a higher level, they need great on-the-job training. But they also need a range of other skills. Any type of administration role usually requires Microsoft Office; therefore, Office training courses will help. For more technical roles, staff may need specific in-house training.
Creating a culture of learning
Building a great learning culture can’t be underestimated as a tool for company success. If you’ve ever been in a workplace where staff groan and roll their eyes at the mention of another training course, you know that something isn’t right. People’s learning needs aren’t being met in the right way, or there are a whole host of other engagement problems. Chances are, that work is also nowhere near as productive as it could be.
By delivering relevant, timely and convenient training that really engages people, you foster a culture where people want to learn. And when people want to learn, the organisation becomes more dynamic as a whole.
Building a more agile workforce
We hear a lot about the ‘agile workforce’ in modern business. But what does it mean? For most companies, it means having staff who are skilled and adaptable across a range of functions. For example, if there’s a peak demand period in your accounts department, you can move a couple of staff to temporarily help out. Obviously, that means having staff in other departments with some accounting knowledge.
One of the best ways to achieve this is through learning and development. If you talk openly with staff about their goals and aspirations, they’ll tell you whether they’d like opportunities in different roles. So, you can provide them with the necessary training, and give them opportunities when they present.
Higher staff retention
The scenario above is one of the reasons why learning and development also tie into staff retention. If people feel stuck in a job, with no opportunity to move upwards or even sideways, they often become disengaged. When staff are disengaged, productivity decreases, and ultimately, staff turnover increases.
However, staff who have their learning and development needs met are much happier. This is partly because they see a future in the company. They’re not pigeonholed into an entry-level job, and their employer supports their growth and development.
Boosts employee engagement
Providing staff with learning and development opportunities is known to increase employee engagement. As mentioned above, this helps with staff retention, it makes your workforce more agile, and people are more inclined to go the extra mile to get work done.
Employee engagement is huge in the modern business world, and while learning and development isn’t everything, it does play a key role in making people feel supported in the workplace. Show your staff that you care about their career, not just the job they’re doing right now.
Make training and development relevant for everyone
Finally, we need to discuss the importance of reaching people with your training. Generic programs don’t work, and in a lot of cases, you need qualified in-house trainers. They should be experts in training design because so much of a training course’s success comes down to the content and delivery.
If you’re serious about training and development, consider training and development courses for your trainers. Help them become better at what they do, and the whole organisation benefits.