You’d be hard pressed to find an industry that is devoid of at least some type of basic training program. Even small businesses of only a handful of employees have training needs. The larger the business organization, having numerous jobs and employees, the greater the need for a substantial training program. We hire a new employee based on our human resources need and the candidate we select has most of the skills we desire. However, every business has its own way of doing things and has its own unique products and services. Businesses have legal and or regulatory requirements that not every person off the street brings to our door. How do we resolve these situations? We do it with training. This is our opportunity as an organization to train the employee to the skills and qualification standards that best suit our business need. We may have to outsource for the training or we can do the job in-house. In either case, what is an absolute is employees do better, are more productive and have a better attitude towards the organization when they are afforded the opportunity for skills training.
Employee training and development is not accomplished in one singular event. Businesses don’t conduct just one course on a one time basis for a single person or group and then close the door to any and all future training. Developing, improving, and building job skills in any company is a long term investment; not just the employee’s future, but an investment in the business’s future. Once begun, it’s not just the individual employee, leader and manager that benefit from a continual long-term training program, the business organization itself benefits by improved productivity, improved morale, more efficiently deal with changes in products and services, and improved effective managerial and leadership practices.
Initial, Career, and Professional Training
Training programs for employees will generally fall into three groups: Initial Training Program (ITP), Job or Career Proficiency Training (CPT) and Professional Development Training (PDT). ITP is tailored to activities teaching the specific job skills. Initial training will often include educating new employees on the company’s business model, reporting procedures, benefits, vacation, sick-leave, career advancement programs, and anything else that a new employee needs to be productive. CPT is the business’s opportunity to provide additional training throughout the year on new job skills, equipment, processes and procedures, and team building. PDT is the business’s opportunity to take selected employees to the next level by identifying and training employees for managerial and leadership positions, team building, leadership skills, industry trends, business performance conferences, and professional certifications.
Where do we begin?
Who are we training? New employees may require skills unique to the organization and current employees may require new skills for a new job or a change in the current position. Current employees may require retraining in a skill or refresher training. A business may want to conduct enhancement skills training for the organizations leadership and management staff.
Input of job skills requirement begins with the business leadership and management. The second source is from the employees themselves. An organization generally has a skill set requirement for each employee based on the business need. This skill set usually influences the human resources requirement and the hiring process. If an organization needs an employee with accounting skills for the accounting department then it’s pretty easy to advertise and locate an applicant with a quantifiable, qualifying education and experience. Qualifications for a job that require a degree or certification in a particular discipline like accounting, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, dental hygienist, nurse, are clear-cut examples of you either have the paper to prove or not. However, whether or not an applicant or employee has the professional qualifications for a job does not mean they have all the specific skills needed for that particular organization? Additionally, it’s not always an issue of the skill, but it may be, and often is, an issue of how that organization does business or how it performs internal processes.
Gap Analysis: Where are we now? Where do we want to be? What’s missing and how to do fill the “skills gap”? Skills gaps are qualification and applicable skills lacking for individuals and groups or even the whole organization. These gaps can tell-the-tale of poor employee or managerial performance and how they adversely impact the organization. Desk or job audits are often used to help determine the gaps between the employees’ skills and the required skills to perform the job most effectively.
How Adults Learn.
Here are some interesting numbers that can be used to help you decide how or what mode or modes you should use in delivering your message. There is an old rule of thumb that says we learn through: 10% of what we read, 20% of what we hear, 30% of what we read and hear, 50% of what we hear and see, 70% of what we say ourselves, and 90% of what we do ourselves. What does this mean to you? If you want to ensure that more of your message is received than a cursory amount, you may need to apply multiple modes of communication such as providing reading material and graphics as well as just speaking the message. You may, if practical want your audience to participate physically as well as listening and reading your message. Skills will eventually become second nature through repetition. Bottom line – If you are solely relying on the verbal presentation to deliver the message you may only expect a small portion of the message to be either retained or understood. As we move into Part Two of this discussion these learning considerations should be integrated into your planning.
Next – Part Two of Employee Training Program Development