Jason Silberman, Marketing Director at WalkMe, contributed this article to BusinessNewsDaily's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.
In the business sense, one of the foremost victims of tough financial times is a company's budget. While perhaps counterintuitive — and I like many believe unwise — in shrinking company budgets, managers often turn to slashing funds for employee training. It's a frustrating notion, because in order to encourage company growth right now, it would seem to be common sense that we should be encouraging individual growth and development. Not in a philosophical sense, but rather from a practical, business-focused perspective, let's invest in one in order to invest in many.
Part of the reason I believe that companies have an itchy trigger finger when deciding to target training programs is that the upper management often fails to see the directly practical value in it. Conversely, organizations that do indeed understand training's value appreciate it for the several benefits it brings. For example, a quality training strategy boosts employee morale and motivates them in their daily activities. Training also stimulates competitiveness, and in its absence only a modest professional development may "preserve."
In addition, training programs help retain valuable human capital that will not make them feel the need for a "change" to develop professionally. Furthermore, and this is a key point, training is an investment that brings profit in the medium and long term, increasing efficiency and maintaining high professional standards — it directly contributes to the quality and efficiency of the organization.
However, there is no denying that times are tough and money is tight. With reduced budgets to training programs, it is critical to find the best practices that will bring the biggest return on the organization's investment. To benefit from the strategic advantages listed above, it is not sufficient for a company to request training offers and course selections which might "seem" interesting at some point or another. Training can produce the aimed results only if strategic thinking and quality time are invested into its creation. With that in mind, here are five tips that employers should take into account before sketching a training program:
The trainer makes the difference
Choosing the proper trainer is the first thing to be considered. It's important to note that no matter how well prepared, organized and animated a training session is, employees will recognize and respond accordingly to how the information has been delivered. Thus, a well-prepared, creative and experienced trainer that speaks with an open mind is a must for the success of a training session.
Training must be an integral part of the organization's culture
When training is seen as an ongoing, constantly evolving process, employees are more willing to participate. In order to be assimilated easier, information must be connected, follow a logical thread. An employee who is trained to be more responsive, more open and more motivated to learn is the one that will achieve success in work life.
New information provided with the aim of improving individual and collective performance can be an important source of motivation. When everything is designed in accordance with the organization's life when training becomes a real support in daily activity, employees want to learn more and to apply as many of the things learned in their office activities.
Provide information and skills in a form that can be used immediately
Every time you develop a training program you have to enter in your participants' skin and ask yourself: What do I gain from this experience? A learner will be more attentive if he knows that the course delivers him information that can be used immediately. A common expression, WIIFM — What's in it for me? — should be the guiding principle when designing training. A clear link must be drawn between the knowledge given over during training and the necessary skills that employees will gain to perform their daily work. This way they will be more motivated to engage actively in the sessions and develop new skills.
Start the training session before entering the classroom
One of the newest ways to capture your employees' interest is by requesting their participation before they reach the classroom. The trainer can give some food for thought, read them a list of questions, etc. The idea is for the course's subject to be better understood, thought out before and already concern a theme of interest for the students. Be sure from the get go to also communicate expectations of the learners and exactly what they are going to gain from the training session. Even before the training begins, knowing the overall objectives for everyone involved is the only way to ensure success.
Continue the training session after the standard courses have ended
No longer is training deemed as a one-time event, but rather as a continuous process in which employees participate day after day, for an undefined time period. In this regard, training has to continue even after the standard sessions have ended. Employers have to provide learners with the right informational tools in this regard, such as e-learning support software, performance support aids or interactive online guidance systems.
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The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher.