Those reading this blog certainly understand the importance of employee training and development. That’s the reason they are visiting this page in the first place. Indeed, most companies and employees generally understand that training is important. But it’s that “generally” qualifier that can and often does lead to some training inefficiencies.
Making Training Specific
Companies that know they should be training their employees don’t necessarily know how to train them or what to train them on. Training simply for the sake of training will have minimal benefits.
While generalized training might have some benefits for certain basic skills like how to use spreadsheets or the basics of customer service, these are arguably skills employees should have when they begin employment, and these aren’t skills that boost a competitive advantage.
Additionally, benchmarking what others are doing isn’t necessarily a great strategy for building a training program. Even businesses in the same industry and direct competitors will have different training needs.
Building a Focus on Business Needs
That’s because training needs to be focused on the goals and needs of the business. Without this focus, training can be extremely inefficient and wasteful.
Even training that might otherwise be considered successful may be wasteful, says Nikos Andriotis in an article for efront. Why? “Because training can be one hefty investment,” Andriotis says. “In fact, U.S. training expenditure exceeded $70 billion in 2016. That’s a lot of spending! And like any spending in business, it should pay off,” he writes.
In order to get that payoff, it’s crucial that training be aligned with the organization’s overall business goals. For example, if a business goal is to increase product quality, training should focus on things like quality control.
If the goal is to boost production efficiency, training should focus on things like process improvement and the identification of sources of inefficiency and waste.
Aligning employee training with business objectives and corporate strategy is a great goal, but achieving it requires some thought and effort. In a follow-up post, we’ll talk about some specific strategies to achieve that alignment.