Training and Development

Training and development can be very useful to an organization or it can be a complete waste of corporate investment. A strong training and development program can increase worker skill and general knowledge as well as make the organization more efficient. A poor training program can drain resources and time from personnel and budgets. This is why a strong training program should be developed that has a real impact on operational efficiency.

Throughout the years I have seen training programs teach general knowledge which doesn’t tell workers precisely what needs to be done in any particular situation. This can lead to a waste of time in terms of labor costs related to attending the training, organizational financial resources related to the cost of the materials and facilities, as well as loss of credibility for future training. Such “feel good” training can hamper future efforts to improve the skills of the organizational workforce as well as reduce overall morale.

Training should be specific enough to give employees a clear idea of how to handle specific situations as well as what the expectations are. For example, safety training should focus on specific scenarios (i.e. spills, burns, etc…), customer service training should focus on specific methods in dealing with customers (greeting, follow-up, etc…), and occupational training should focus on specific skills needed for that job. By keeping focus on the required aspects of the job employers can measure improvement or decline.

General education is beneficial for understanding broad concepts. However, in many cases higher order thinking displayed by workers takes many years to accomplish. It is a though process that has been culminated through deep thinking over a lifetime that allows such workers to think deeply about complex topics such as superb service or excellent customer service. Such exercises may not be beneficial for the organization to spend an excessive amount of time on. It may be sufficient to cover the overall concepts in brief and move on to specific actions that the employees must take.

In any training program there should be an evaluation of how successful the training actually is. There are two basic types of evaluations which include tests and in-class evaluations as well as operational results. In class evaluations help to determine if they have learned basic concepts while evaluating the short and long-term results in the workplace can help see if the training is producing any meaningful results.

Training programs should be evaluated like every other type of new venture for the company. The cost should be weighed against the benefit and the increase in worker skill can be measured through data drivers. Only through such concerted effort can training and development programs regain lost momentum in the image game. True practitioners know how to justify their existence.