Employee Training

As the business environment changes at an increasing pace, companies need to be innovative and create new products and services in order to remain competitive. Some claim that the only strategy available to boost earnings is the investment in people. While many businesses realize the importance of constant learning and they purport to view employees as an important resource, few look at it as an investment. Instead, they continue to consider training costs an expense and in tight conditions training budgets are the first to be cut.

While many organizations, businesses, agencies and not-for-profits fail to see employee training and development as an investment, it has turned into such. As the labor market tightens and demands become more competitive, it becomes more difficult for companies to remain productive. As a result, employee training has become essential, no longer being the option it was in the past.

The benefits derived from employee training and development include stronger sales, improved overall quality, better productivity and timeliness per employee, better customer satisfaction, personnel relationships and improved safety. In many cases, thanks to "cross training," employees are able to broaden their skill base and improve their flexibility and portability, in this way increasing their value to the business. Employees also become more self-confident and motivated. Training also often helps employees learn more about the operations of the organization they work for, thus gaining better appreciation for the way the company is going and the reason decisions are made.

Most of the benefits gained from employee training can be evaluated although some seem intangible. For example, shorter lead time to achieve proficiencies, less need for supervision, reduced time for operation and generally better time management can help companies assess value for time savings. Companies can assess productivity through the value of increased quantity, less down time, time saved and improved work rates, while quality can be measured by a fewer rejects, a reduced number of accidents, lower legal fees and overall improved competitiveness. The improvement in personal performance can be assessed through less absenteeism, higher productivity with fewer employees and reduced grievances.

With the development of technologies, there has been a growing interest in technology-based training, which can be attributed partly to consolidation, globalization and cost concerns. According to some experts, technology can save money in training. Technology also allows employers to keep the content of training consistent and tailored and also makes it more convenient to deliver the program on a large scale. In addition, thanks to technology, employers are able to use one or more segments of a training program for several different audiences. While training videos have declined in popularity, employers tend to prefer online learning and CD-ROMs.

In order for employers to make the most of employee training and development they should plan the programs systematically and strategically and link them to the organizational goals. Employers should identify gaps in knowledge and skills necessary for achieving specific goals and determine the best way to fill the gaps. A variety of methodologies, including classroom lectures, simulations, discussions, or demonstrations should be utilized. Employers should also have programs delivered by internal specialists when possible.

The best time and duration for training should be determined. The length and number of sessions have impact on the strength of overall learning. In addition, employers should be cautious about demanding that training is done during workers' personal time. Training programs should also be developed in such as way that the skills they teach are progressive in nature.

It is important to build in some type of follow-up to the formal training in order for skills to remain current. Program evaluations from the perspective of the employees as well as in view of the company return on investment should be developed and implemented. Employers can also encourage employees to enroll in university or college programs that can enhance their skills and ability to contribute to the company. Employees can also be sent to industry-specific conferences in order to learn leading technologies and trends that will affect their company.

The key to future success is for companies to value employee training and development as an investment and apply a continuous learning strategy. In the rapidly changing business environment, companies need to ensure learning, knowledge sharing, innovation and productivity are routine in their business. Companies that ignore the value of upgrading and renewing employee skills, on the other hand, are not likely to survive.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Training on Trial: How Workplace Learning Must Reinvent Itself to Remain Relevant
James D. Kirkpatrick; Wendy Kayser Kirkpatrick.
American Management Association, 2010
The Workforce Investment Act: Implementation Experiences and Evaluation Findings
Douglas J. Besharov; Phoebe H. Cottingham.
W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, 2011
Learning in the Workplace: Strategies for Effective Practice
Stephen Billett.
Allen & Unwin, 2001
Working to Learn: Transforming Learning in the Workplace
Karen Evans; Phil Hodkinson; Lorna Unwin.
Kogan Page, 2002
Does Training Affect Productivity of Employees? Two Methods of Meta-Analysis
Davar, S. C.; Parti, Mani.
Indian Journal of Industrial Relations, Vol. 48, No. 4, April 2013
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
A Synergetic Model to Training & Development
Kalaiselvan, K.; Naachimuthu, K. P.
Indian Journal of Industrial Relations, Vol. 47, No. 2, October 2011
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Employee Training in SMEs: Effect of Size and Firm Type-Family and Nonfamily
Kotey, Bernice; Folker, Cathleen.
Journal of Small Business Management, Vol. 45, No. 2, April 2007
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Adult Learning Meets the Green Economy: Lessons from a Green Jobs Education Project
Wagner, Cecelia.
Adult Learning, Vol. 24, No. 1, February 2013
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Self-Regulated Workplace Learning: A Pedagogical Framework and Semantic Web-Based Environment
Siadaty, Melody; Gasevic, Dragan; Jovanovic, Jelena; Pata, Kai; Milikic, Nikola; Holocher-Ertl, Teresa; Jeremie, Zoran; Ali, Liaqat; Giljanovic, Aleksandar; Hatala, Marek.
Educational Technology & Society, Vol. 15, No. 4, October 2012
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
A Performance-Oriented Approach to E-Learning in the Workplace
Wang, Minhong; Ran, Weijia; Liao, Jian; Yang, Stephen J. H.
Educational Technology & Society, Vol. 13, No. 4, October 2010
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Creating, Implementing, and Managing Effective Training and Development: State-of-the-Art Lessons for Practice
Kurt Kraiger.
Jossey-Bass, 2002
Improving Teamwork in Organizations: Applications of Resource Management Training
Eduardo Salas; Clint A. Bowers; Eleana Edens.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2001
Training for a Smart Workforce
Rod Gerber; Colin Lankshear.
Routledge, 2000
Communities and Workforce Development
Edwin Meléndez.
W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, 2004
Flexible Learning, Human Resource, and Organisational Development: Putting Theory to Work
Viktor Jakupec; John Garrick.
Routledge, 2000
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