Competing successfully in today’s highly competitive global markets requires asset optimization. A key asset in any business is its workforce. Creating an optimized workforce requires a commitment to continuous employee development, but how can you be sure your training program is benefiting both the employee and your business?
The objective of staff training is the optimization of potential within a company. A scattergun approach to training – either training everyone or only those people who are available and request it – will yield variable results at considerable expense. What is required in today’s markets is an enhanced approach to training that creates targeted results which meet the requirements of the business, the industry, and the individual.
Optimized training programs start with the identification of deficiencies within the organization. This requires the robust evaluation of all available data, drawing upon gap analyses, customer complaints, information on defective products and services, and areas of non-conformity raised during audits and business reviews.
Sometimes companies find that, despite a comprehensive program of training, they are not receiving the results they desire. They may also find their staff don’t attend or complete the training. When this happens, it is pertinent to ask why?
If staff don’t complete the training in the allotted time, is the schedule too short or is the methodology incorrect for the target audience? Or, do senior staff lack commitment to their employees, providing them with insufficient time to complete the training properly. If staff are unmotivated during training, are they being given training which is irrelevant to the job? Finally, are the employees bored by the training? If the training amounts to little more than the same information being slightly repackaged, it will not be engaging.
Ineffective training is not only a waste of time, it can be counterproductive. Staff may leave training feeling demoralized, with the sense that their employers do not understand or value their contributions to the business.
For training to be effective, it must be:
The usefulness of the training can only be gauged if the organization actively engages with the process. They must identify the return on investment (ROI) that the training should generate, if it is to be regarded as successful. This must include an agreed timescale, which is normally fixed at the outset.
In addition, senior managers need to consider staff feedback and look at pass rates. This can be especially relevant for mandatory training, which can easily become stale and boring if it is not regularly refreshed. Failure rates are a good indicator that training is not being optimized for the business and the individual.
It is important for a business to measure, or ‘witness’, the changes that result from training. Sometimes referred to as ‘return on expectations’, this allows the business to judge the effectiveness of its training program.
The process is easier if the business or individual understands, from the start:
Training organizations offer a range of feedback systems to help assess the effectiveness of training. In addition, because training is cyclical, they can help business’ benchmark their training. This will allow the organization to adjustment its level of investment in training to optimize competitiveness.
Successful training programs are targeted and have clearly defined success criteria. Assimilating the data that is required for this can be daunting, but the benefits are considerable. By accurately identifying areas that need improvement, the individuals that need it, and measuring effectiveness, companies can create more efficient and cost-effective training programs.
A system designed to amalgamate data from a wide variety of sources, such as SGS’s BE Engine, will help streamline the process, making it more approachable and helping to reduce costs and wastage. Utilizing big data in this way will also help the company optimize and assess the results of the training.
The SGS BE Engine can help identify and collect all the relevant data required from audits, analyzes, customer complaints, etc., helping the company deliver targeted and effective training. It will also define ROI objectives and methods of training related to the individual and their position. The system removes the complexity associated with efficiently assimilating the necessary data, creating a user-friendly interface that helps a company:
Without the ability to successfully assimilate and evaluate essential data before and after training, the results will always be patchy.
Training that is appropriate and targeted will engage the employee, while answering the needs of the company and the market. A study by the Institute of Leadership and Management recently showed that 34% of employees intend to leave their job because they felt undervalued. The study also found 30% of older staff (41-50) saw no opportunity for development and training in their current role, leaving them disillusioned. The study clearly demonstrated that employee dissatisfaction was a major problem, with many feeling they had a lot more they could contribute to their companies.
This is untapped potential. As markets widen and competition increases, businesses must ensure they utilize this untouched potential. Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, once defined leadership as “growing others”. By creating a confident, informed workforce, a business will give its employees the desire and the tools to act in the best interests of the company.
The question of whether to train staff is now redundant. The debate has now moved to the best ways to optimize training for the benefit of the business and the individual. SGS’s BE Engine provides businesses with a tool to ensure these objectives are effectively and efficiently met.