by Granville Triumph
Organizations are under constant pressure to improve productivity, operational efficiency and customer service. Employees are expected to deliver the best possible customer experience in order to build loyalty and revenue. However, many organizations aren’t providing the kind of training required to achieve these goals. Rather than making training mandatory or heavily incentivized, organizations take a more passive approach. They depend upon online training, provide very basic in-house training or informal coaching, or neglect training completely.
Without requiring or strongly incentivizing structured training, organizations risk losses in productivity, efficiency and ROI. For example, it does no good to provide new technology if you’re not going to show your employees how to take full advantage of it. It does no good to deploy a modern security system if employees open the door for hackers by using “123456” and “password” as passwords when logging into the network. If you want to maximize ROI from investments in technology and processes, training needs to be mandatory and properly managed.
Training gives you the opportunity to improve employee performance by teaching new skills, addressing weaknesses, and raising the level of knowledge of all employees. Unlike voluntary programs, required training ensures that all employees have been exposed to the same information and are consistently following best practices. Training improves morale by boosting employee confidence and job satisfaction. Employees feel valued when an organization invests in helping them become better employees. All of these factors lead to a team that is more empowered to make the organization more successful.
In order to create culture of learning and progression, training should be integrated into business strategy. From learning and progression come innovation and competitive advantages. This process begins with senior management support of training as a key driver of business strategy. Business objectives and success criteria that are tied to training should be defined. Progress should be tracked and ROI metrics should be measurable. Establishing a learning development team, combined with direct involvement from senior leadership, will keep training programs aligned with business strategy as the needs and direction of the organization evolve.
When developing actual training programs, choosing the right trainers is paramount, whether they are employees or third-party specialists. Every training program should include a skill or piece of information that employees can begin using immediately. This will motivate employees to embrace future training sessions and learn new skills. Finally, don’t limit training to the classroom. Share training objectives and invite input before training begins, and continue training after the session by providing informational materials and online learning tools.
Without formal training, most employee learning comes from informal coaching and online tools. While these can have value, there is no standardization, consistency or scalability with such a practice. By developing mandatory or highly incentivized training programs and integrating training with business strategy, organizations establish a culture of learning that supports the growth of each employee and the organization as a whole.