Productivity and performance in any business is the key to its success or failure. Today’s top executives have acknowledged the fact that low performance and inadequate production levels is in many ways the organizations failure to provide the proper training that arms their employees with the proper tools for productivity.
Current business practices of many major corporations consist of large budgets for employee training, as executives realize “that the long-term success of any organization is tied closely to employee training and development.” (Scannell & Donaldson, 2000, p. 1)
Organizations must be prepared for the competition, as today’s market is constantly changing and often this change is rapid. Each organization must provide a training program for their employee that is continuous and consistent with the organization’s culture and vision. Training is a continuous process and should span the employee’s career within the organization. (Scannell & Donaldson, 2000, p. 2) Educating employees does contribute to a higher level of performance as well as increasing the employee’s commitment to the organization. (Thomas & Maxwell, 2001, p. 47)
Effective training programs empower employees to solve specific work related problems independently, as the training program provides them with an understanding of the companies over all objectives. Training programs are a form of direct communication to employees; therefore these individuals are able to make an informed decision that impacts their performance level. Effective training also provides a clear path for advancement for staff members, as they have an opportunity to cross train in various departments and obtain new skills. Cross training programs are the perfect opportunity to promote diversity within the working environment as various people are brought together with a variety of different skills. (Thomas & Maxwell, 2001, p. 47)
There are several types of training that can be used when working with staff members new to the organization or improving the skills of the long-term employee. Most companies start with new employee orientation, as the first few days of work are somewhat confusing to the new staff member and these are the days that are most crucial to their success. During orientation employees are able to get familiar with the company’s goals and how they can become a significant part of achieving these goals and supporting the company vision. Often key leaders are involved with this training process so that the employees are able to identify the chain of command. This particular type of training is to review the actual job description and define what is expected. (Go2.com, 2007)
The training process should not be limited to new employees; it should be used consistently with all employees to upgrade skills. Many organizations find that intermittent in-house training programs are useful when done in a group setting and taught by immediate supervisors. Employees respond in a more positive fashion when they are familiar with the person providing the training and when in a known environment. (Go2.com, 2007) Improving the skills of existing employees to help them grow will help organizations face the dramatic changes that take place within the environment as competition continues to increase and it is a cost effective solution to increase a business’ competitive advantage. (Sims, 1998, p. 3)
Mentoring is another successful form of employee training. Employees who find a positive adviser within the working environment are able to obtain one on one training and obtain stills from a high-rated employee. Mentoring has been shown to help the “socialization, development and retention” of employees in the working environment. (Mezias & Scandura, 2005) Many times employers will assess employee needs and locate multiple mentors to address various developmental needs. (Mezias & Scandura, 2005) This particular arrangement is also beneficial to the mentor; this person receives a sense of responsibility for another person in the organization. (Go2.com, 2007)
Another form of employee training is provided in an external environment, or out-of-house training. Organizations can send employees to seminars, college courses or various professional workshops held inside or outside of the local community. Many times organizations offer these programs as a reward for the purpose of providing a motivating force in the workplace. This type of training provides new skills, sparks creative ideas and reinforces employee commitment – all of which is carried from the external environment into the workplace. (Go2.com, 2007)
Mentoring has been shown to be the most productive type of training for employees. According to a 2002 study published in the Canadian Federation of Independent Business 62% of business owners surveyed this method was the most successful. (Go2.com, 2007) The personal attention of the mentor as well as the training provided allows the employee to take the time necessary to perform the skills at a high level. Though companies must allow for the skilled employee to be less productive, investing the time required to improve employee skills in this fashion will illustrate the organization’s commitment to its staff member’s success. (Sims, 1998, p. 58)
Some examples of employee training programs would be the various in-house opportunities organizations are offering to their employees. Traditional training practices are unable to keep up with the rapidly changing environment of many organizations; therefore, computers have been used to “fill the gap” left by traditional practices. Computer-assisted instruction (CAI) has become the “fastest growing segment of the training industry.” (Sims, 1998, p. 59) Employees are provided a computer containing a specific training program and allowed to complete the training at his or her personal pace. The advantage of this particular type of in-house learning is consistency, measurable objectives and employee self-teaching. (Sims, 1998, p. 59)
External training practices vary, however a good example would be the various seminars offered throughout the United States and other countries. Common topics for these seminars are leadership, team building and motivation. Training programs and seminars are not always held in external environments; today’s technology has allowed many employees to utilize the knowledge of outside sources via the internet or teleconferences.
Training programs are extensive and today’s organization has several options available that will improve employee morale, enhance personal as well as professional skills and help improve a company’s competitive advantage in today’s market. It is crucial to ensure that employees receive consistent training and motivation.
Go2.com. (2007). Go2.com: Types of Training to Boost Your Competitive Edge. Retrieved from http://www.go2hr.ca/ForbrEmployers/TrainingDevelopment/AssessingTrainingNeeds/TypesofTraining/tabid/135/Default.aspx
Mezias, J. M., & Scandura, T. A. (2005). A Needs-Driven Approach to Expatriate Adjustment and Career Development: A Multiple Mentoring Perspective. Journal of International Business Studies, 36(5), 519+. Retrieved April 4, 2007, from Questia database: http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5010967228
Scannell, E. E., & Donaldson, L. (2000). Human Resource Development: The New Trainer's Guide. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Publishing. Retrieved April 4, 2007, from Questia database: http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=100330154
Sims, R. R. (1998). Reinventing Training and Development. Westport, CT: Quorum Books. Retrieved April 4, 2007, from Questia database: http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=28642245
Thomas, K., & Maxwell, J. (2001). 2 Communication and Training: Building a Learning Environment. In The Real World of Employee Ownership (pp. 46-71). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Retrieved April 4, 2007, from Questia database: http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=109358107