Why Training Should be for Everyone

Posted on January 8, 2014.

In my 20+ years of management, there was one consistent and frequent complaint from my staff and it centered on training that went something like;  “ why can’t I go to that class?  Or “ why won’t the company pay for all of my college credits?” The simple truth is that no matter how old or experienced you are, people want to learn.

And it’s not just the “worker bees” that crave the challenge of improving ones mind. A recent WSJ article cited c-suite executives and bosses who were learning about social media and technology.  No matter where you are in your career or how much you think you already know, developing a training program for yourself and your employees will improve morale and the bottom line.  Here are a few ideas you might want include as you complete your development plans for the year:

·      Establish mentor/mentee relationships. In the WSJ article, the companies cited didn’t send their executives offsite for expensive training, Instead they teamed their younger, social media/tech savvy employees with high level executives to train them on the ins and outs of all things “tech”, including the basic language used today.

·      Cross-train.  Cross-training helps expand the knowledge base of your employees, which will improve their ability to move to better, higher paying positions within the organization. Additionally, cross-training can foster an environment of understanding as you learn about the challenges other people in your organization may face.

·      In-house formal training. Let’s face it, a lot of the people who raise their hand for in-house training are not doing so just for the actual knowledge gained.  In-house training  sessions can create networking opportunities, and if done in an exciting city, perks outside the walls of the classroom.  So as you dole out these coveted spaces, make sure you’re doing it for the right reason and that you’re fair and equitable about it.

·      Outside training. Depending on your industry, there’s a plethora of training opportunities provided for all levels within an organization.  If you aren’t aware, just check the national or local association of the industry you represent. Outside training can be costly so make sure it’s going to be of value, not only to the employee but also to the organization. 

·      Online training. Once you’ve researched outside training, you may discover there’re numerous courses that can be completed online. This not only saves you money but you can include many more people. The downside is the employee doesn’t get the added benefit of networking and just getting out of the office for a day or so.

As you start your planning for the New Year, make sure you incorporate some training into your individual development plans.  As we’ve discussed many times here, lack of recognition is one of the main reasons people quit their jobs. (Forbes 3/13.) One easy, and relatively inexpensive way to recognize someone’s effort is to reward them with more knowledge.