Did you know that in 2019, Amazon committed over $700 million to retain its employees? In an effort to upskill individuals from the workforce, the e-commerce platform provided nontechnical workers access to technical skills training. The organization vowed to invest in its employees, which created a win-win situation.
Employee training and development has gained popularity over the years. It creates a beneficial situation for both employees and the organization. Read on to see how everyone benefits from such programs.
What Do We Mean By Training And Development?
Jeremy Bentham, the founder of utilitarianism, proposed the carrot and stick approach of motivation during the Industrial Revolution. The theory suggests that the workforce can be motivated through reward (carrot) and punishment (stick). The concept of punishment seems out of question in the modern-day workplace, which brings us to reward and the question, how do employees get motivated?
As opposed to popular belief, employee motivation isn’t restricted only to higher salaries and monetary perks. Research suggests that employee retention is higher in those organizations that prioritize learning and development. Today’s employees are looking for jobs that are meaningful and instrumental to their personal growth. A job is no longer just a job, it’s a long-term investment in self-improvement.
Before we explore the need for training and development, let’s look at their meanings in the context of workplaces.
A program designed to help employees improve their knowledge and technical and foundational skills (e.g., negotiation skills) that helps them fulfill their responsibilities in a more efficient and successful manner
A more expansive process, it focuses on employee growth and future performance, encouraging them to acquire new knowledge and improve skills that’ll help in career advancement
What Is The Need For Training And Development?
Any form of learning and development programs is not only beneficial for the employees but also for the organization. Let’s look at the various ways in which both parties gain from such programs.
It gives employees a greater understanding of their roles and responsibilities, making them feel more confident about their position in the organization. This confidence not only enhances productivity but also helps employees stay motivated while fulfilling organizational targets. It ultimately leads to greater performance.
Boosted Morale And Motivation
Training and development programs indicate that organizations are invested in helping employees grow in their careers. This creates a supportive workplace and boosts employee morale. They’re motivated to work harder and with greater dedication when they feel appreciated and challenged through new opportunities.
Ongoing training and development programs provide plenty of opportunities to rethink approaches and resort to creative problem-solving. This can further lead to innovative thinking and employees are encouraged to propose out-of-the-box business solutions.
You can’t expect employees to know everything or have all the relevant skill sets when they join an organization. There should be room for learning and development of new skills and experiences. Not everyone will have the same learning speed or required working style. Helping employees address their weaknesses will encourage them to overcome them.
Successful training programs can improve an organization’s brand image. Jobseekers actively look out for organizations that’ll help them advance in their careers. Therefore, learning and development are attractive features as they enhance brand image and reputation. Here are several ways in which organizations can attract potential employees:
Online courses or workshops
How To Identify Training And Development Needs?
Managers shoulder the responsibility of identifying employee training and development needs as they work closely with the workforce. A manager is often instrumental in recognizing the skills and knowledge gaps of their team. To guide, support and motivate your employees, take time to identify their needs and expectations.
Talk To Employees
The most obvious first step to understanding employee needs is to talk to them. It helps you figure out what sort of training program your employee(s) needs. A good way to go about this is to schedule a friendly catch-up or informal meeting where you ask questions about their performance. Try not to make it sound like a performance review; instead, ask them about areas of self-improvement. Once you gather feedback, identify recurring themes that’ll help you tailor the program outcomes.
Set Clear Expectations
If you want your team to go beyond the job description, you need to make your expectations clear. Additionally, providing clarity about roles, responsibilities and goals helps employees understand what they should or shouldn’t prioritize and pursue. If someone is unable to meet performance expectations and standards, have measurable targets that help you identify the gaps. Look out for relevant training and development programs that help improve performance.
Create Personal Development Plans
As the name suggests, a personal development plan helps to create actionable steps towards building awareness, self-reflection, setting goals and self-improvement. Helping your team develop a personal development plan means listing down strengths and weaknesses in addition to identifying training needs. If someone struggles to achieve their goals, training can help understand targets better.
Conduct Organizational Analysis
An organizational analysis refers to identifying weaknesses and finding ways to tackle them. You analyze the structure, operations system, functionality and working environment to design strategies that’ll help overcome setbacks in those areas. Similarly, task analysis will help identify roadblocks that affect organizational goals.
Identify The Program Type
Typically, learning and development programs fall into three categories. You can identify the one that’s most suitable for your team or individual employee. Not everyone needs the same type of training, which is why it’s crucial to find tailored programs and resources. The three categories include:
Helping individuals get up to speed with new products, equipment, software and processes
It depends on the department and the type of role that an individual is in; for example, sales training and safety training programs
This sort of learning experience goes beyond the job description; it includes improving leadership skills, emotional intelligence training and anything that helps foster personal growth
Creating An Employee Training And Development Program
If you want to see development take place in the most efficient manner, you must have an overall plan. Here’s how you can create a template that’ll help the organization allocate necessary resources to training requirements.
Before you start shortlisting courses, tools and training materials, identify the outcomes you want to achieve. Think about the organizational goals and the finer milestones involved. List down any hurdles that keep your employees from achieving personal targets.
Competencies refer to knowledge, skills and behavior—instrumental to performance success. Identify the competencies that relate to your workplace culture and find programs that help enhance those competencies. This further improves productivity as individuals work towards strengthening their problem-solving, decision-making, trustworthiness and teamwork abilities.
Conduct A Gap Analysis
At its simplest, a gap analysis helps you understand where your team members currently stand, as opposed to where you want them to be. This kind of information is typically available in HR documents, reviews and job descriptions. If not, you can do an employee assessment or a 360-degree review. Understand how much gap needs to be covered.
To create an effective training and development plan, you need to ask employees and consider their insights. It’s only through a one-on-one conversation that you will be able to understand what causes performance gaps and the best ways to bridge them. Take the opportunity to gauge their future goals and the best way you can help them align those goals with the organizational goals. Use the feedback and tailor the programs to the employee’s requirements.
Offer Formal Training
Choose a formal training program that actively works towards closing gaps and improving competencies. Ensure that it assigns specific courses to employees and helps them develop necessary skills. However, it’s not limited only to job-related skills but also extends to general business skills and other foundational skills. The best training programs use blended learning—uses both online media and instructor-led sessions. Look out for programs, courses or workshops that offer such blended learning formats.
Add Coaching Or Mentoring
A mentoring program can be an invaluable addition to your training program. It especially helps young professionals learn the ins and outs of an organization in a more time-efficient manner. It even helps foster interpersonal relationships between mentors and mentees. Additionally, it boosts employee morale and increases job satisfaction as individuals have someone guiding and supporting them along the way.
Allow Self-Directed Learning
Always remember that different employees have different learning and working styles. Not everyone will progress at the same rate as you expect them to. Let everyone learn at their own pace and encourage self-directed learning. In addition to flexibility, employees feel self-motivated.
The bottom line is that if you want to introduce an effective employee training and development program, understand your team’s expectations, needs and future goals. Harappa’s Managing Teamwork course will help you understand and list down your team’s goals and expectations. Encourage open discussions and understand different working styles using emotional intelligence. Identify training needs and help your team grow!
Explore Harappa Diaries to learn more about topics related to the COLLABORATE Habit such What is Employee Engagement, Functions of Management & What is Group Dynamics and learn to understand your team’s expectations, needs and future goals.