How effective is your information technology (IT) training and development program? A recent TEKsystems® survey found that most IT training programs lack executive sponsorship or leadership and are not linked to business outcomes.
Here are three tips, based on the survey results, to help you improve the effectiveness of your IT training and development programs.
First, get executive buy-in for training, and link your programs to business outcomes. Only 23% of surveyed IT leaders indicated that their IT programs have an executive sponsor or an executive who oversees it, and less than one-half of respondents said that their programs are linked to positive business outcomes. “These findings indicate that the vast majority of organizations do not have a strategic approach to training and development and, therefore, are not producing desired outcomes for the business,” TEKsystems reported.
Second, promote your training programs to new and existing employees. In the survey, there was a disconnect between management’s perception of employees’ awareness of available training and IT professionals’ perception. Specifically, 73% of IT leaders said employees know about training offerings, but only 57% of IT professionals had heard about them.
Third, target your training efforts. The survey identified a lack of confidence among some leaders and professionals in their organizations’ ability to prepare employees for future skills gaps. It also suggested that training can help reduce turnover and boost employee loyalty.
In fact, 60% of leaders and 53% of professionals pointed to a lack of career and skills development as a reason for turnover. An overwhelming majority of leaders and professionals said that training and development programs boost loyalty (82% and 87%, respectively).
“We’ve found that these ‘zombie’ training and development programs—lacking direction and focus, autonomous but without authority—are rampant throughout organizations. Few IT leaders indicate their organization has a chief learning officer, or map training and development to business outcomes, yet the majority of IT leaders indicate they have training and development programs in place,” said TEKsystems Research Manager Jason Hayman.
Hayman added, “As a result, many training and development programs exist in a nonstrategic vacuum, and have limited impact on the organization. That’s unfortunate, since it appears organizations acknowledge they offer training and development in order to create higher levels of employee loyalty and retention. For maximum effectiveness, it’s imperative that organizations reevaluate their programs, define a training and development strategy and structure, and implement their efforts to create real business benefit.”