When budgets get cut and times are tough, one of the first things thrown out of the door is an organization’s training program. A majority of companies, 79% to be exact, avoid this by not offering any programs for professional development. And the consequences are not pleasant. Studies show that employees who say their companies offer poor training programs are three times likely to leave their jobs compared to those who work for organizations offering excellent training opportunities.
As Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
For an organization, career oriented training courses aren’t just something that is nice to have – it’s a vital part of its growth strategy. Additionally, development courses offer the following benefits:
- Employee Satisfaction: Employees who perform their job responsibilities more confidently are more satisfied compared to those who aren’t.
- Promote Recruitment: Employees who are career-focused value opportunities that facilitate professional growth.
- Easier Succession Planning: Training courses like leadership development programs allow organizations to groom future leaders.
- Increase Collective Knowledge: Encouraging employees to take part in relevant subjects – courses related to an online tool they use daily, for example – can improve productivity tenfold.
How can employers introduce professional career development programs in their organization? Do corporate setups have a part to play? Here are some ways in which you can improve your staff’s professional development.
Create a Growth Plan
If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. A well-thought-out career development plan provides new or struggling employees with clear direction on how to advance their careers. To create a growth plan, follow these steps:
- Consider Business Goals: Before you set training objectives, compare your organization’s business requirements with an employee’s development needs. Make sure that you consider both long and short business objectives as well. Start by asking yourself questions, like: Can payroll processes become more efficient if your HR manager learns a specific skill? Does the team lead of your sales department need to learn a particular software?
- Recognize Readiness Vs Potential: Sam might have the potential to become a manager, but may not necessarily be ready to take on a leadership role just yet. With this in mind, maybe it’s better to hold off leadership training until Sam learns skills that make him better prepared.
Limit Sessions by Scheduling Training in Chunks
No one wants a dead-end job that stagnates them. However, no one wants to take part in hours of training sessions either. Therefore, make each training program brief and to the point. Employees learn better if they are provided with information in chunks – small amounts of content based on specific training objectives.
To keep things comfortable, limit career management training courses by scheduling them as hourly sessions a couple of days in a week.
Focus on Skills Applicable to Job Requirements
Your engineering department doesn’t need to sit through a course in social media marketing if it’s not part of their daily job requirements. To make training more effective, customize your training programs for skills that employees will actually be using on the job.
Facilitate a Learning Environment
More employees realize the benefit of taking an active part in training programs if their peers show interest in it too. Organizations that foster a culture of learning encourage this behavior.
To encourage a culture of learning, create peer-learning groups where employees can share their experiences with one another. Sharing allows them to find people who might be going through the same challenges as they are and work together to find solutions.
Take Management Onboard
Having managers or supervisors conduct training sessions is a great way to improve support for your efforts. Additionally, it:
- Encourages more employees to take an active part in the sessions
- Improves employee morale
- Encourages learning
Map Out Far Reaching Benefits
If training is strictly work related, employees will compartmentalize learning and fail to see how it benefits them beyond the job. To avoid this, show, rather than tell, your employees how the new skills they learn will help them at work and in other aspects of their life.
Before introducing any new career training courses, assess your business requirements and whether the skills taught will actually help employees carry out job responsibilities more efficiently.