Knowledge and skills development is vital to the health of organisations. We live in an information age today, and organisations are routinely valued not just on their physical but on their intellectual capital. Training is one of the chief methods of maintaining and improving intellectual capital, so the quality of an organisation’s training affects its value. Untrained or poorly trained employees cost significantly more to support than well-trained employees do. Training affects employee retention and is a valuable commodity that, if viewed as an investment rather than as an expense, can produce high returns.
Training is organisational effort aimed at helping employees to acquire the basic skills required for the efficient execution of the functions for which they are hired. Development, on the other hand, deals with activities undertaken to expose employees to perform additional duties and assume positions of importance in the organisational hierarchy.
Training and development are often initiated for an employee or a group of employees in order to:
- Relevantly remain in business.
- Create a pool of readily available and adequate replacements for personnel who may leave or move up in the organisation.
- Enhance the company’s ability to adopt and use advances in technology because of a sufficiently knowledgeable staff.
- Build a more efficient, effective and highly motivated team, which enhances the company’s competitive position and improves employee morale.
- Ensure adequate human resources for expansion into new programs.
- Pilot or test the operation of a new performance management system.
Benchmark the status of improvement so far in a performance improvement effort.
Training is also initiated:
- As part of an overall professional development program
- When a performance appraisal indicates performance improvement is needed
When special projects and products are to be embarked upon
The benefits of training and development to employees and organisations alike are numerous and include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Workers are helped to focus, and priority is placed on empowering employees.
- Productivity is increased, positively affecting the bottom line.
- Employee confidence is built, keeping and developing key performers, enabling team development and contributing to better team/organisation morale.
- Employees are kept current on new job-related information, thereby contributing significantly to better customer service.
- Employees are updated on new and enhanced skills, with a view to aligning them to business goals and objectives.
- After a downsizing, remaining workers are given the technical and management skills to handle increased workloads.
- Companies with business problems are given a fresh or unbiased professional opinion or exploration, evaluation, or critique.
- Job satisfaction, employee motivation and morale are increased, reducing employee turnover.
- Processes increase in efficiency, resulting in financial gain.
Innovation is increased, bringing new strength to strategies, products and the company’s capacity to adopt new technologies and methods.
There are various methods organisations adopt in the training and development of their employees, depending on their needs. They include role playing, job rotation, on-the-job training, vestibule training (where employees are trained off their regular work areas but in an environment closely resembling their work place), public classroom training, onsite training, conferences which allow employees to quickly develop skills on a number of topics, technical seminars which provide employees benefits similar to conferences but with less flexibility because of focused contents, instructor-led online training, mentoring where the skills gap to be bridged is substantial, e-learning modules which allow for employee independent learning and exercises are repeatedly done to reinforce or refresh understanding of content, and embedded learning which helps employees learn through modules built into products or equipment – embedded learning solutions are often customized to fit an organisation’s requirement. We also have reference cards which provide instant access to essential learning, such as Frequently Asked Questions, paper reference cards, web-based cards, etc.
We should all be grateful to God that we belong to ILSPA, where quality training can be got. The year has just begun; we all have ample opportunities to reposition ourselves skills-wise for the greater challenges and responsibilities ahead. Consequently, if your organisation does not see the need to train you, I encourage you to do something about it, considering the immense benefits you will enjoy. The more skilful and knowledgeable you are, the more valuable you will be and there will always be something for you to do to earn a living. Let’s always remember: Never the same time returns in the life of a man!
See you at the top!