Training is an extremely important component of the employee development process. It forms the foundations of the employee’s knowledge-base, which in turn determine his future prospects within the organization. Though the terms training and development are often used interchangeably, they are quite different. Training refers to the hard skills that an employee learns within a fixed time period while development is an ongoing process which can’t really be taught through any program, but by experience.
Now that we’ve addressed the difference between the two, let’s look at how their effectiveness can be increased through certain tips and techniques.
The first thing you should ask yourself is whether there really is a need for a training program. Though training is often introduced as a reactive measure to a problem, many employers might see it as a solution to every problem. Make sure you have given the right tools and resources for the employee to perform his job. Since training programs can be quite costly to the company, also make sure that the employee is a good fit with the culture of the organization. This includes an assessment of his temperament, learning capabilities as well as flexibility.
2. Establish and Link
According to numerous researches, individuals show a greater willingness to learn a skill if they can figure out how it will help them. The same principle applies here; employees will be more receptive towards training if they believe it will help the company achieve its goals. All trainings should be preceded by a briefing session that explains the objectives of the training as well as the reasons behind its adoption.
Mentorship is an excellent, low cost way of increasing the effectiveness of training. It involves assigning a mentor as a role model for the trainee to follow. The mentor is usually someone with ample knowledge of the organization’s business model and works in close proximity with the trainee. Many believe that mentorship is ideal for instilling soft skills such as leadership, communication and presentation. The mentor can also gauge trainee performance more effectively since they work at a closer level.
4. Training through MBOs
A rather unconventional way of approaching training and development is by setting direct goals for the employee to follow within a certain timeframe. Known as Management by Objectives, the goals start off with basic, low responsibility tasks, eventually increasing in their scope and effect. Though MBOs have proven to be effective in many cases, certain things should be taken care of. For instance, the goals should be set with the employee’s input and should be reset after each subsequent period.
5. Gauging Effectiveness
Any good training program should also be measurable. While employee surveys are a low cost way to assess effectiveness, they aren’t always accurate and can be subject to bias. A better way to assess efficacy is performance graphs which pit the employee’s before and after training performance by using metrics.