3 reasons why workplace training should be more than just a tick box exercise

1st October 2018

As featured in Pathfinder page 18

Changing attitudes towards workpace training can benefit both employee and employer.  Samantha Caine, Managing Director at Business Linked Teams lists the most common benefits training can have in the workplace.

The busy day to day schedules of workers often mean that training becomes viewed as something of a nuisance in the workplace.  However, time still needs to be set aside for employers to provide training to their employees.  Too often the time that is made available for training doesn't allow for productive sessions, resulting in forms simply being completed in a tick box manner to speed things along.  The employee then despairs having little to no further knowledge on the taught topic, with the whole process not being nearly as beneficial to the entire workplace as it could be.

Changing the attitude towards training can positively affect both the employee and employer.  Whilst the employee may use the training to further enhance their skill set to seek alternate career opportunities, the employer can still benefit from a greater set of skills and behaviours instilled in the employee through the training.  The employee could even find themselves progressing within the company with these skills and behaviours, forgetting about those alternative opportunities.  

Time is money

Increasing motivation, productivity and retention within the workforce by providing relevant training, employers will drive down recruitment costs across the busienss.  Not only will employers find themselves getting more from theworkforce, they can fill theirr pipelines f more senior roles with quality candidates guraranteed to have the relevant skills and behaviours in addition to a stron knowledge of the business itself.  

Conversely, tick box training actually costs empolyers in terms of the expenditure on training, the cost of replacing staf who don't stay with the business and the cost of sour4cing hight quality candidates for those senior positions.  But the real risk with tick box training is that it isn't aligned to real business needs.  the training strategy should be driven by what the emplyer needs in order to achieve goals.  Then and only then can organisation be sure that the training is purposeful and effective.

One size doesn't fit all

The reason that so many businesses invest poorly in training that simply ticks the boxes is a lack of understanding by the business of how people learn and develop new skills.  Learning theory in the business world requires training to be linked to people's jobs.  It needs to be tailored to the specific objectives of each individual and other aspects - such as what their managers need to support them - must also be considered.  While tick box training is often delivered in the format of a presentation, this type of one size fits all solution fails to consider the process that people need to go through in order to learn.  As such, the training isn't going to be effective.  Training should be tailored to each individual with content delivered through a blended learning experience that combines elements of face-to-face learning, group learning and self-directed online study.  

A blended training programme should be delivered in bitesize chunks over a sustained period, enabling employees to ruminate on their learnings in various stages.  This will provide them with the opportunity to put what they are learning into practice without becoming overwhelmed by having to absorb and pput into practice everthing at once.

Long term thinking will benefit the entire workplace

Employers should place long term career planning at the forefront of their employee training strategies.  By recognising the value that employees find in relelvant training and building a training strategy around that value, employers can expect various beneftis in return. 

When it comes to delivering a training strategy that addresses the employees long term career goals and beneftis the employer, getting the design of the training right is paramount.  It isn't good endough to just deliver content, the processes through which employees ar eactually able to learn is critical too.  Beyond sitting down and taking part in training exercises, give employees the time to abosrb and practice what they've learnt, and effective training must accommodate this requirement.

Employers that recognise the value in training that has an enduring impact beyond simply ticking boxes can achieve the strongest results by enlisting an internal or external training expert to oversee the training strategy.  They must ensure measurement and feedback is provided to ensure that the required skills and behaviours are successfully being put into action.  Most of all, employers must ensure training is kept regular and current and that it is always aligned to their business objectives.