by Menet Hamel
Many of us as employers have just successfully submitted our mandatory grant submissions, or rather our Workplace Skills Plan and Annual Training Reports, to our relevant SETAs (Sector Education and Training Authorities). However, have you stopped to consider if that long list of training employees attended resulted in any real returns not only for the employee, but also for the organisation?
Training is often seen as a bore and a chore. A 2010 McKinsey & Company report found just 25% of respondents felt that training programmes had a measurable improvement on performance. With more and more companies focusing on skills development for purposes of gaining a competitive advantage, contributing towards the organisation’s retention strategy and probably more importantly, from a pure business perspective, the achievement of targets as set out in the B-BBEE Skills Scorecard, the question to my mind is whether or not we are getting training right. We are definitely training our employees, but are we truly benefitting from such training?
The importance of training
The offer of skills improvement has become part and parcel of the standard job offer. Indeed, a 2015 study found that 69% of employees under 40 say that training opportunities play an important part in deciding whether or not to stay at a job, while a 2016 Gallup report found that 87% of millennials say professional development is important to them in a job.
With this clear and overwhelming outcry from employees to be trained and developed, organisations must use this opportunity to work towards the achievement of their strategic objectives, but also their transformational objectives in becoming an inclusive employer giving equal opportunity to all. Skills development is a vehicle for transformation as employers can identify potential in their organisation, train those employees in whom they see the talent and ability to be promoted in the future and by doing so closing the under-representation gaps in terms of race and gender.
The need for making training personal
Many training programmes are too generic, basic and boring. As a training facilitator going into a training room I want to know who my audience will be, why are they there and what led to the decision to have these employees attend this specific training programme. Yes, I have many generic training courses to pick off a shelf and deliver in an interactive, interesting and engaging way, but if I do not know what the problem is, what the need is, what the desired change in behaviour or knowledge is, I cannot accomplish the objectives set out by the organisation.
Delivering training the right way
For the most part training is conducted face-to-face in a classroom and lead by a facilitator; although this instructor-led type of training is widely used and remains successful as learners are able to test their understanding with the facilitator, organisations must consider a more blended learning approach. This approach includes the benefits of instructor-led training, with the addition of an e-learning platform where learners can test their knowledge and embed further learning, without the pressure and cost of time in the classroom
What happens after training?
If we are able to get it right, correctly identify the training need, secure the services of a reputable training provider or facilitator, customise the training to accomplish the desired outcomes and facilitate training which caters to the different learning styles of people, then we are only half way there.
It is when the employees returns to their desks/place of work where the true test lies. Managers don’t always follow up after training, or even know what their employees are learning and if no one is asking the question ‘what did you learn as part of your training’ then little motivation exists for that employee to move from having learnt something new to implementing that learning in the workplace.
Employers and SDF’s need to consider including actions as part of their company policies and practices to reinforce learning in the workplace. This could be call for employees to find an audience of one or more of their colleagues to share what they have learnt in training. It requires line managers to specifically discuss the impact training had on the employee and his/her ability to do their jobs better during the performance appraisal discussion. It may also be that companies decide to send fewer people on training and ask those who attended to teach their colleagues and by doing so embedding learning in the participant and transferring knowledge to their colleagues.
Whatever approach is adopted by the employer, the focus must now shift from being able to successfully source training to being able to see a return on investment after training has taken place.
We can get training right by sourcing the right training solution, delivering training the right way and ensuring that it becomes integrated in the employee’s day-to-day way of working.
Should you wish to receive more information regarding Global Business Solutions’ blended learning approach, please contact me at [email protected]
Till next time