There is an old story about the Foreman going to the Manager with a training request for an employee. The boss says, “What happens if we train him and he leaves?”, to which the Foreman responds, “What happens if we don’t train him and he stays?”
There is no question that training is needed in business. The technical skills of how to do the job are essential and one of the main reasons that employees leave employers is lack of training to do their work. But technical training is only part of the picture. Soft skills are required as well. Employees need to know soft skills in order to utilize the technical skills to the maximum. If you can’t interact effectively, your technical or hard skills will not be as useful or effective.
Why are you looking for training for your employees? Is there a problem you wish to address? Is it likely that it is the right solution? Is the perception of the problem coming from management or the employees? This is where the management’s soft skills come into play in sourcing the answer.
Technical training is something most employers hire for, wanting the new employee to have the basic skills to do the job. In today’s changing world, technical skills do not remain static. Employees need skills to be upgraded on an ongoing basis to remain relevant in their trade or profession. At the same time many employers offer soft skills training to enable personal growth in areas of communication, leadership, teamwork, and interpersonal skills.
Sometimes internal trainers can be used, but most times the skills you need to impart are not within the organization. Interesting, but many times outside trainers are accepted more readily by employees. No matter which trainers are utilized you need to have clear objectives and desired outcomes. Know what you need.
There are three errors that organizations seem to commit when training employees. The first is training for the sake of training, with no real need in mind. I received computer training on programs that I never used in my job, consequently, I quickly forgot what I had learned.
The second is no follow-through. Training is expensive. Using it as ‘flavour-of-the-month’ shows employees that you are not sincere. and it really isn’t important. Training involves lessons and processes that you should be incorporating into your routines. If you don’t, you have just wasted your money.
The third error is sending someone off to training then, when they return, not asking them to provide a report or summary on what they took away from the training and how it might be used in the workplace. I took training courses and when I returned, I may as well have been on vacation as no-one cared to even ask about the course. Again, wasted money by management.
Training is essential for the recruitment and retention of employees, but you need to know why you are doing it, the expected outcome, and then make use of the resulting skills.
Otherwise the train(ing) is derailed!
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