HR Talk: Organisations should tap power of internal training

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Conducting internal training has advantages for both employers and employees that are not found when employees are to be sent on an external training programme or seminar.

It has been discovered that transfer of learning occurs more naturally and employees consolidate learning through training other employees.

On-the-job training that enhances an employee’s skills and ensures their readiness for the next promotion is generally far superior to a general course that is undertaken outside the organisation.

Internal training and development removes the hurdles that are encountered during external training.

It reflects a solid knowledge of the culture of an organisation.

This kind of training utilises real-life examples, problems and challenges that participants encounter on a day-to-day basis at work.

This enables internal training to identify the exact skills and knowledge that participants need so as to be effective in their jobs. It also prepares employees for their next promotional grade.

Another advantage of internal training is that it is presented in the language and terminology that participants understand and can easily relate to.
The skills of employees are easily developed and their own knowledge of the topic embedded in their minds.

The following tips have proved to be effective in making internal training tick:

On-the-job training: There is need to come up with a layout that indicates a plan for the internal development of an employee.

This is specific job-related training that results in a successful, developed employee. Internal, on-the-job training should include such activities as:

The need to invite the employee to contribute to department or organisation-wide decisions and planning.

Provide more information by including the employee on specific mailing lists, in company briefings and in your confidence.

The need to enable the employee to establish goals, priorities and measurements.

Assign the responsibility of teaching machine operation, quality standards, production standards and safety practices to employees who train new employees or employees who are new to the work area.

Assign supervisory or team leader responsibilities or function as an assistant lead while learning.

Assign the employee to head up projects or teams or function as an assistant lead while learning.

Enable the employee to spend more time with his or her boss in a coaching/mentoring relationship and the need to set goals for employee development as a team.

Provide the opportunity for the employee to cross-train in other roles and responsibilities.

Mentoring and coaching: Mentoring, coaching, and field trips, both inside and outside the organisation, help employees to develop their skills and knowledge.

Employees who “teach others” most effectively benefit from incorporating the knowledge and skills themselves.

So it is ideal to assign the employee a formal mentor from within his or her work group. The more experienced employee has the responsibility to help the fellow employee in learning the skills necessary to succeed in their job.

The concept of “take an employee to work” day has proved to very effective in coaching and mentoring. In this concept, an employee applies to participate and spend the day learning about another job function within the organisation.

As an example, a training officer will spend the day learning about public relations.

Human resources sponsored a debriefing meeting to gather the data employees’ take from the job, explore their learning and improve the experience for the future.

Encourage employees to seek out informal mentors on their own in areas of needed development and interest.

This will assist them learn and improve in their areas of weakness while there are relaxed and in an environment they have chosen on their own.

Internal training sessions: Internal training sessions and methods are effective. This is so especially if they offer employees new skills and ideas, internal training, can replace much external training in organisations.

Internal training is also cost effective and the training facilitator or resource person is always available to participants following the training session to offer any assistance that is needed.

During internal training sessions, the facilitator could be chosen among the employees or a trainer or consultant with whom the organisation has developed a relationship over time.

This ensures that the trainer is cognisant of the organisation’s culture and needs which is vital in tailor-making the courses to the real needs of the organisation.

After employees attend an external course, it is recommended to arrange time for employees to train other employees so that they can share the information learned at a seminar or training session.

This could be done at a department meeting or a scheduled internal training session to discuss the information or present the information learned externally to others. This will enable the employees to link what they have learnt with the actual job on the ground.

Internal training is a cost-effective, encouraged, effective method for training employees. Whether the training is provided on the job, from informal or formal coaches and mentors, or in internal seminars, or conferences, internal training has the potential to positively impact employee learning and development.

It is an idea that is worth pursuing which you will never regret as an organisation.

Paul Nyausaru is a training and development practitioner. You can contact him on email pnyausaru@yahoo.co.uk pnyausaru@gmail.com .