HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsEffective training strategy good for employee development

Effective training strategy good for employee development

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When organisations are not performing well the first item to be struck off the budget is staff training. The idea is to wait until there is more time or more money.

But successful organisations the world over value their employees’ skills which must be kept up-to-date. Employee development is one of the most important investments you can make in your business.

So when you do take on a training effort, you’ll want to be sure you’re spending your money wisely. It’s therefore best to create an overall training strategy to steer your plans for staff development. Before we go any further, let us start by defining what a training strategy is.

Training and development in an organisation requires implementation to achieve success. Therefore, the strategy will require vision, focus, direction and an action-planning document. A training strategy is a mechanism that establishes what competencies an organisation requires in the future and a means to achieve it.

Many points can be put forward in favour of why an organisation needs a training strategy. The most compelling though rests in the results of a recent study of 3 000 companies done by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania.

They found that 10% of revenue which is spent on capital improvements can boost productivity by 3,9% while that which is spent on developing human capital, increased productivity by 8,5%. It is worthwhile then to note that anything worth achieving is worth planning for!

The most successful and profitable approach has been to identify the employees’ training needs in terms of their organisational strategic plan, human resource strategic plan, personal development plans and focus on comprehensive interviews or focus groups.

The next stage involves analysing needs. This involves taking time to analyse the organisation’s needs when designing your training plan which will help you choose the right type of training for your requirements.
Analysing training needs assists in identifying skill gaps.

This can be done by looking at the written job description and comparing the skills the position requires with your employees’ current abilities. Understanding where there may be gaps will help you identify the types of training you need.

Once the skills gaps have been identified, the next stage involves assigning the training you’d like to provide into categories. It is ideal to ask yourself the following question: Is it mandatory or nice to have? If it’s absolutely required, a training effort becomes imperative.

If it reflects an ideal situation that isn’t immediately feasible, you’ll know to plan for it in the longer term.
Once you have assessed and prioritised the need for training, the next step is to determine what type of training you will use and how you will offer it.

There are several factors to consider such as the following:

  • Internal resources: Ask yourself what resources you have in-house. Seasoned employees may be perfect to take on coaching or mentoring roles. Inexpensive to provide, these are among the most effective types of training
  • External resources: Formal seminars, conferences, private trainers and videos are all good methods for learning. These tools are more expensive, but are professionally developed and often yield good results
  • Delivery options: One-on-one versus group sessions, e-learning versus in-person instruction, on-site or off-site? These questions will be answered by a blend of factors such as what’s available, what best suits your needs and what you can afford.
  • Your budget: It’s important to balance your need to save with the long-term benefit of developing staff. Try to determine the best type of training available for the amount you have to spend.
  • After all has been done do not forget to secure management and staff commitment. Before you can execute a training programme, you need to have agreement from the senior management in your organisation that training is a priority.

    Senior management will need to support the plan fully and agree to milestones, costs, dates and deliverables.
    Employee commitment is also required.

    There is need to talk to your staff about the goals for the training and why it’s important to the business that they undertake the learning effort. Most often, employees will respond favourably to your investment in their development.

    Today’s employees look beyond their paycheques; they value and embrace opportunities to learn new skills.

    Paul Nyausaru is a training and development practitioner.

    You can contact him on email pnyausaru@yahoo.co.uk or pnyausaru@gmail.com

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