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How to Maximize the Impact of Training Opportunities

  • 23 June, 2023

Many companies struggle to keep up with the needs of their workforce. The development of new technology has disrupted our way of thinking, creating a significant issue in employee training. With the opportunity for personal development so rampant, newer employers especially assume that they can get away with minimal effort and still maintain a productive work environment. In this blog, we'll discuss the importance of training opportunities and how today's workforce feels about them, the different types of training opportunities, and how to maximize the impact of training opportunities so your company can withstand the test of time.

How to Maximize the Impact of Training Opportunities

The Importance of Training Opportunities

It goes without saying that employee training is one of the key factors in creating a highly productive workforce for a company that withstands the economic weather. In fact, according to a Udemy skills gap report, 51% of employees would quit a job that didn't provide necessary training. Others claimed that their work skills were not taught in a training program but were self-taught on the job. In this same survey, 84% of workers believed that there is a significant skill gap in today's work environment. The negative impact of a lack of training opportunities or insufficiently prepared training opportunities is an increase in employee turnover. Creating an effective training program and taking advantage of every training opportunity can help your employees fill this skill gap, keep business moving smoothly, and benefit from everything a well-made training program has to offer.

There are other purposes to training opportunities that don't necessarily apply only to the job factors that are more byproducts of the training. Those are:

- Employee competence

- Company morale

- Employees that feel valued

- Uniformity of work

- Improved work environment

Most of these benefits are a direct result of how the employee feels about themselves and how they work with each other.

Different Types of Training Opportunities

There are several different types of training and different times in which that training might be most beneficial.

Onboarding is the initial process of familiarizing new employees with the job requirements, skill sets they'll learn, company culture, and standard operating procedure within the company. It also details best practices for safety, who to contact in case of an emergency, and important information about the company specifically.

Reboarding is similar to onboarding in that it is a familiarization with the company and all that entails. It generally happens when a new training program is launched, when an older employee needs to re-familiarize themselves with their job requirements, or when there is a change in the command structure within the company.

Upskilling is different because it's not necessarily a requirement of the initial job to learn a specific skillset. Upskilling can come in the form of professional certifications, generally from an outside source. It can happen in the onboarding process or later in a person's career to support their professional development.

Let's take a moment to talk about something that might be obvious but still deserves a space. There are also official training opportunities and unofficial training opportunities. Official opportunities lie within the grand scope of business operation. They're planned, structured, and executed with exactness. Unofficial opportunities occur in the everyday operation of business processes. They're unplanned, occasionally haphazardly executed, and usually completely effective in solidifying critical concepts for the employee, as well as building employee relationships.

Evaluate and Improve the Effectiveness of Training Opportunities

Creating or participating in training opportunities is the responsibility of every person in a company, but it's also important to understand the effectiveness of the training itself. Here are some factors that contribute to an effective opportunity and ways that you can improve it.

- Seek out different training opportunities. Perhaps you, as the owner or operator of a business, are responsible for training employees in varying capacities. Ensure your employees know that their training and capability are the highest priority by looking for different opportunities to help them develop their skills.

- Talk with employees about their experience. Gain feedback from your employees through survey, casual conversation, or think tank type scenarios to get a large array of feedback. Make sure that your questions are specific to eliminate confusion or stalled conversation. Allow others to speak, and listen to what they have to say.

- Create actionable goals that employees must reach. Training itself is only as effective as what the employee gets out of it. Set actionable goals and requirements that they must reach that show their competence. If they don't seem to be able to reach those goals, re-evaluation might be in order.

- Check to see if low performance is a product of poor training or other factors. If employees are regularly struggling with performance, it may seem like the right course of action is to return to the training program. However, this isn't always the case. Training can only get you so far. It can address lack of knowledge and experience, but if the issues within the workforce are due more to ineffective compensation packages, negative work environment, lack of proper tools, etc., then the answer isn't necessarily to offer more training opportunities but rather to fix those issues before. If retraining still seems like a good option, now is the time to do it.

- Look for opportunities to reinforce concepts learned in training. Unofficial training can be what solidifies the information learned within a training program. On-the-job opportunities to share what an employee has learned or reviewing critical concepts help you to know what to focus on, and what area might need improvement.

5 Ways to Maximize the Impact of Training Opportunities

1. Set SMART goals. When setting goals for specific outcomes, i.e., training outcomes, use this metric to determine if the goal in mind is the right one. For instance, is it Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-based. Setting SMART goals, instead of simply stating that you'd like to see a particular outcome, helps you to know if the goal is a good one that won't lead to frustration.

2. Choose the training opportunity that best fits your goals. Following up, if you're looking into a training opportunity to elevate your business or work force, it's important to choose one that fits the company goal and desired outcome. It's difficult to justify the expense if it doesn't align with those goals.

3. Ask those involved if the opportunity would benefit them overall. Participants are more likely to be enthusiastic and engaged in the program if they can see how it fits into their overall goals. Compile information to show them how they might benefit from being a part of the opportunity and everything it entails.

4. Understand that measurements matter. Yes, measurements matter. Being able to identify and measure the desired outcome of the training opportunity will, in the end, help you determine if it was effective and if it's worth doing again. It also helps to show superiors how the training went and if it's a good idea for the future, which is always easier when numbers are involved.

5. Emphasize the importance of active participation. For opportunities that are mandatory, such as staff development programs or team building trips, make sure that employees know what they're going to get out of it from a personal and professional standpoint. This can come in the form of incentives, a memo detailing the benefits, or even a simple conversation that shows the importance.

6. Understand the resources and needs of the workforce. Make sure that the opportunity fits with the overall needs and requirements of the company and those that work there. It doesn't do well to have workers trained in an area that seemed like a good fit when it actually isn't. It also doesn't do well to find the perfect opportunity and put in all the work and effort to set it all up if there is no time-or worse-insufficient funds.

Properly trained employees prove time and time again to be loyal to companies that offer experiences designed to help with their own development, as well as overall company development. Training opportunities come in various forms and at varying times. It doesn't matter if the opportunity is formal or informal, structured or not. Finding the right opportunity for your company to thrive is key in creating a company culture of productivity, creativity, and overall success. If you can maximize each opportunity for training, even the smallest opportunity, it can pay off for years to come through an increase in time, money, and overall business success.

About the Author: Anna Taylor

Anna Taylor is a freelance writer and avid researcher- a jack of all trades, but a master of none. She graduated from the University of Hawai'i with an Associates Degree in Liberal Arts because she had no idea what she wanted to be when she grew up. She has since found her love of Extended Reality and the possibilities it brings to the world, as well as gardening, cooking, and writing. Anna lives in Interior Alaska with her family.

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