Ongoing staff training and development is an important element of any successful business. Without adequate training and development for staff, businesses become inefficient, which results in limited, slow growth, low employee retention rates and poor productivity. Training and development for your workplace needs to be targeted, planned, and strategically thought out.
The words training and development are often used interchangeably. Therefore, it is important to understand the individual meaning of these words in the context of employee growth. Training can be described as the process used to educate an employee on the skills they need to complete their duties. Whereas development refers to activities of growth that are used to enhance employee’s career progression, which is determined by the employee’s career goal and objectives.
Why is ongoing staff training important?
It is vital to ensure that new employees are adequately onboarded and trained in their duties. However, training and development doesn’t stop there. It is imperative for even the most experienced of employees, managers, and heads of business to engage in training and development opportunities. Some reasons why include:
- Training keeps us up to date with industry best practice and standards.
- Broaden skill knowledge, experience, and capacity.
- It demonstrates to staff that they are valued.
- It ignites intrinsic motivation and job satisfaction.
- Helps to reduce staff burn out.
- It promotes high staff retention rates.
- Improves staff performance and enhances staff engagement.
- Opportunities for career development for staff is increased.
- Overall workplace productivity is improved.
Establishing employee training and development needs
Managers should continuously be considering staff training and development needs. In the first instance before establishing individual training and development plans the needs of the organisation needs to be considered and understood. A good place to start is by completing a training and skill analysis. This will help to identify where the organisations strengths lie and pinpoint skill gaps. Knowing this information will help you to assimilate the needs of the organisation into individualised training and development plans.
It is important that time is taken to thoroughly complete a training and development plan with each employee. This conversation will help you understand the goals and career path of individualised employees, including how they fit into your organisation long term. Training and development opportunities listed in the training and development plan need to consider areas of interest for the employee, their current duties, the needs of the organisation and the employee’s goals.
How to train and develop staff
Training and development activities are not merely restricted to face-to-face training courses. There is an array of opportunities to train and develop employees including:
- Job shadowing and peer coaching
- Attending seminars and conferences
- Online courses and webinars
- Job rotation and cross training
- Secondment opportunities
- Further education and qualifications
Training and development opportunities are often an afterthought, and they can be considered a tokenistic gesture where training is attended to satisfy KPI’s or meet expectations. This narrative needs to be up ended and training and development seen as the cornerstone of any productive, successful, cohesive, and happy workplace. Quality, relevance and targeted training and development opportunities should be prioritised over quantity. These opportunities should be impactful, motivating, revitalising, and stimulating, otherwise the activity can be seen as a waste of valuable time, resources and there is no benefit or learnings achieved.