More than likely for an employee, the first few days or weeks on the job are consumed with training, training, and more training. They must learn everything from company policies and procedures to how the computer system works; not to mention all the responsibilities of their job. However, as the months pass the training becomes less and less; eventually becoming non-existent.
Many companies provide an abundance of training in the beginning, but might fail to provide ongoing professional training opportunities for their employees. In a recent article that discusses employee turnover, It’s Not Me, It’s You: 5 Frequent Causes of Employee Turnover, one of the main reasons employees choose to leave their job is because they are bored. Employees want to expand and polish their skills, abilities, and experience. When they feel like they cannot do that in their current position they start looking for opportunities outside the company to fulfill those developmental needs.
Training and development programs are important and can play a role in reducing employee turnover, but they can also be a large investment for a company. As with any large investment, companies that invest in training and development want to ensure that their investment will pay off. The success of training is measured by how the participants apply their new knowledge when they return to work. It is a manager’s responsibility to make certain that the skills employees learn in training are applied effectively, ensuring professional on-the-job-behavior and an increase in productivity.
So, how do managers and trainers ensure that employees apply the knowledge and skills taught during training to the job?
To successfully change on-the-job behavior, managers and trainers must enforce the learned skills before, during, and after training. They must also address three essential issues prior to training:
Before a company can implement a training program, the skills that are most pertinent to the employee’s specific challenges and success must be identified. Improving or enhancing an employee’s professional on-the-job behavior, knowledge, and skills should be the primary objective when identifying training needs.
2. Ensure that management is prepared to support use of the new skills on the job.
Management must be able to recognize value before supporting an investment in training. Managers must decide if they are willing to provide the required time, money, and support necessary for training to be a success. Effective training can increase revenue, improve market penetration, and increase employee retention.
3. Trainers and managers must understand employees’ key job-match characteristics.
People tend to be more motivated to learn when they know that the skills they are learning can be applied immediately. Employees will be more interested in training that teaches skills that are applicable to a specific daily task because this will solve an issue they face constantly. Broad topics, such as effective listening, are often found less interesting and therefore can have a lower return on investment.
Training and development provides skills, knowledge, and the potential for successful application on the job. The extent to which the learned skills are implemented in on-the-job situations reveals the success of the training. Reinforcement of the use of the learned skills on the job determines whether or not the skills will continue being used in the future.
“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough we must do.” – Goethe
Do you think training and development should be the responsibility of the employee or the company? What training and development opportunities does your company provide for employees?