Now, more than ever, training and development is essential for employees trying to determine who they want to work for and for organizations to attract employees.  The shrinking talent pool, complicated by a global pandemic, has placed greater importance on employee training and development.  Organizations everywhere are becoming increasingly aware that skills gaps are lowering their chances of finding and keeping capable employees. Many organizations believe there’s a problem when it comes to hiring employees with the necessary skills. But what may be less clear is that failing to address skills gaps through training can also make it harder to retain worthy employees, who may be frustrated at not being able to grow and develop their skill set.

From the employee’s perspective, getting your foot in the door of the right organization is step one. Step two is fulfilling your role to the best of your abilities. They hired you, right, so obviously they think you have the potential to do your job and expand your skillset? But what if you are falling just a bit short in fulfilling the tasks your employer is asking of you? The answer may be to request skills training.

Training can go a long way toward addressing skills gaps, but maybe your employer or people within your organization just don’t see the need or are reluctant to invest the necessary time and funds.

Below I address several common misconceptions about training to demonstrate its value.

In this Post

  1. Why Train If They’re Just Going to Leave?
  2. One Size Fits All Training
  3. Training is a Threat to Our Organization’s Productivity
  4. After Training, There’s No Implementation Option or Recognition
  5. Training Can Help Address Skills Gaps

1. Why Train If They’re Just Going to Leave?

For organizations to maintain credibility with their customers, they need to make sure their employees have the skills necessary to provide the services or create the products the customers will use. Fifty-nine percent of organizations cite “building critical skills and competencies” as one of their top five priorities. And these same organizations say they can’t build skill development solutions fast enough to meet evolving skill needs. Training can provide a competitive advantage plus it can be a great retention tool.

Organizations can address improving competencies by investing in their employees through training. Such training can help employees work together as a group to build skills through exercises and discussions; training can also help them recognize gaps in their processes and identify ways to improve. Most importantly, the skills and lessons employees bring back to projects will no doubt yield a significant return on any investment in training.

2. One Size Fits All Training

Often, organizations looking to train their teams find it challenging to pinpoint exactly what the skills gaps are. When seeking training, it’s important to find the right solution for your organization’s unique needs.  When employers dedicate time and resources to help employees grow and develop in their current role, it is important to focus on what skills are lacking in the organization.  This allows your organization to align the skill building training to the business need.  A training provider should have the expertise to determine what type of training will best serve an organization’s needs. They can then create a tailored solution to meet those needs.

Employees share this interest.  They want to participate in developing their skills to grow and be challenged to help achieve their organization’s goals. According to a recent study from LinkedIn, employees want to be more relevant and more productive in their current role and they have ideas and opinions on how to shape their development.

3. Training is a Threat to our Organization’s Productivity

Ah, yes, this is always a concern for organizations. How can we do business as usual when our employees are busy training? This may be one of the most challenging concerns to address, especially for the learning and development department or even individual professionals trying to sell the need for training to their managers.

Some organizations are concerned about “away from the office” challenges when people are in a training course.  The key to success is minimizing the number of hours required to learn new skills, while maximizing retention through innovative course design and a true understanding of adult learning.

If performance improvement is what you are after, then learning and practicing are required—there are no shortcuts. Recently, a friend of mine had their golf swing analyzed. At the end of the analysis session this friend said, ‘I can see what I’m doing wrong but I don’t want my game to get worse while I make the changes needed.’ My bottom-line question to the organization would be, do you really want change? If so and you are concerned about reduced productivity, then talk about options to shorten the learning curve and ingrain the new skills more quickly.

4. After Training, There’s No Implementation Option or Recognition

A good training provider will offer outcome-based curricula and services such as mentoring, executive briefings, and action plans. Coaching calls can be arranged to help the team implement the skills learned in training within the organization’s unique day-to-day operations. This add-on value will ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of the training your team undergoes.

Recognition of newfound skills is also essential.  Employees want to be able to document and display their skills and achievements through digital badges, credentials, and certifications. When employees develop new skills, they don’t want to go back and do the same work they have been doing.  They need to be given the opportunity to apply what they have learned in the context of their current role and experience that their organization recognizes and values their efforts.

5. Training Can Help Address Skills Gaps

For the organization, training is a valuable tool that can address skills gaps that are holding employees back. For the employee, asking for what you need in order grow in your position should show that you are not only a valuable employee, but also that you have the confidence to make it happen.

RMC offers eLearning courses and instructor-led virtual training.  eLearning occurs outside the classroom, is self-paced, and is usually quicker and cheaper than other types of instruction, making it one of the more popular options for training. Instructor-led virtual training is most popular for groups of professionals seeking training, because of the ability to interact and communicate with the instructor and other classmates. In recent years, we have developed micro-learning as another way to help employees develop skills beyond the current tasks for which they may be responsible.

Finally, a carefully designed training plan with a blend of learning formats yields the best solution to successfully balance cost and effective learning.

Cate Curry
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