Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Employee training and development, and the creation and retention of value -3: company-required options and resources

Posted in career development, HR and personnel by Timothy Platt on August 2, 2012

This is my third posting in a series on employee training and development, and as this topic area would be viewed from all of the involved stakeholders’ perspectives (see Part 1: starting a new series and Part 2: baseline determinations of what training and for whom.)

I have, up to here, been discussing issues of types of training and employee development options that can be available, and what value they would carry and to which stakeholders. I turn here to consider the issues of what types of training and employee development would be offered to which employees, and under what terms and circumstances.

An obvious starting point for that would be where certain training would be required and for all employees.

• For many businesses this would begin with training modules as required parts of the basic new employee on-boarding process. And this would both serve to orient new employees as to their new work place and help them find their way around in it. Along with providing information on what resources are where, this would also include modules on issues of a more due diligence and risk remediation nature such as the company’s workplace harassment policies, and it would offer insight as to corporate culture to help new employees transition in.
• One objective of this type of training is to prove every new employee and at whatever level and position on the table of organization, a consistent, smooth transition into their new workplace and work responsibilities.
• This also provides due diligence protection for the business, and I cite direct and explicit notification as to the corporate workplace harassment policy as noted above, as a working example for that.
• This serves to protect the employee. If an employee were ever to find themself in a position where they felt they were being harassed, they would have been formally informed that they have recourse within the company and that they would be offered services and support in the face of harassment challenges. They would know where to turn to for help and that help was and is available.
• This also protects the company, as its managers would be in a position to claim zero tolerance for workplace harassment and as a matter of public record, and that every employee has been trained on that and on how the business actively addresses harassment claims.
• I add that due diligence-oriented and supportive training should also include basic training as to online security and information and information systems protection, and other high-priority topic areas of importance to that business.

Obligatory training might end there, depending on the business, but depending on the business and its industry, this might only begin with on-boarding.

• I have already cited as possible examples of that, licensure and continuing credit hour training where they is needed to obtain and retain necessary licenses and certifications to be able to hold specific jobs (see Part 1.)
• Whenever a business upgrades or changes its infrastructure systems, employees who use those systems are generally required to participate in at least brief training sessions to bring them up to speed on those new tools and their features as quickly as possible. That type of training is usually obligatory too, and I cite training on new sales support and customer relations management software systems as areas of employee retraining where I have managed that process.
• And to round out this bullet point list, businesses can and do require at times, that specific employees take specific hands-on skills training to bring them more fully up to speed for new work requirements that their jobs will demand of them. Learning a new programming language, or a new feature set or extension of one they have been using come to mind for me as examples there. And I remember benefiting from training programs on new online marketing and business resources that were under consideration for incorporation into online customer-facing systems in place.

This only touches on some of the resources and training options that might be offered as required activities for employees, and where compliance with attendance and participation, and effectiveness in successfully completing training can figure strongly into overall workplace performance reviews.

• In general, obligatory training should be seen as a way to bring all relevant employees up to at least some minimum standard of skills and understanding, for a body of knowledge deemed essential that it be covered. The goal there is to prevent gaps where some or even just one crucial employee who needs some set of skills, does not have them.
• This should be cost-effective and taking into account both the costs of training, and costs accruing from these employees being taken away from their usual work while in training.
• That means balancing short term costs and longer term benefits, and that I add is always a consideration when planning out and instituting effective employee training.
• And if these programs are to work with effective and interested participation by those employees – and not just as exercises in bringing their physical presence in the right rooms, this has to be presented to them in ways that will bring them to see value from this too.
• That I add, can mean effectively assuring them that if they are in a company sponsored training program and if they are supposed to be working at that, their usual schedules and priorities are not and should not be their concern, and that they will not be penalized because they cannot be in two places and doing two entirely different things at once.

And this up to here has dealt entirely with training and employee development that is mandated by the employing business, and with its strategic goals and priorities serving as primary determinants as to who should participate. The next set of training issues to cover here begins where the employees to be trained play a significant role in determining their own participation, and where they in fact raise the issue of training and from their own insight as to its value – and to them and to their employer. I will delve into that in my next series installment. Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at HR and Personnel.

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