Why Training Matters More than Ever
In the old days, training was often through an apprenticeship. An experienced old hand imparted his wisdom to a younger employee, often in one-on-one sessions over an extended period of time.
Training retains some aspects of apprenticeship, but it is also likely to come from a far broader spectrum of people and places. Across a career you can expect training from classroom lectures and discussion, on a virtual basis, digital self-training modules, podcasts, simulations through to on-the-job sessions.
Training magazine reports that companies spent an average of 53.8 hours per person on training in 2015. New technologies, regulations, processes, and products create the need for employees to continually keep up-to-date. As automation takes over some of the more routine ‘mindless’ tasks, employees must be trained in more complex thinking to deal with problems and identify opportunities.
What are the benefits of training?
- Value to the business – Trained individuals are likely to have higher quality and fewer errors. In addition, trainees develop an ability to synergize what they’ve learned with what they experience on the workplace, leading to increased innovation and productivity. Some compliance training, such as fraud prevention and sexual harassment, may be government mandated to keep companies from violating commercial laws.
- Value to yourself – As a trained employee, you’re likely to perform better and thus have greater confidence and less stress. Improved performance can lead to higher self-esteem as well as raises and promotions. Even if you don’t stay in the same role, attending courses and acquiring qualifications can enhance your CV, making you more marketable to other organisations.
- Value to co-workers – Employees rely on each other in work teams. A poorly trained individual may be a poor contributor, thus increasing the burden on the rest of the team. He or she might even put co-workers at risk of injury if the safety requirements of the job are not understood.
What kind of training do you need?
- Knowledge and skills for your current job – Rightfully, companies demand that workers have the minimum skills to work safely and competently on their assigned processes. Often specific modules are taught for the employee to achieve specific levels of competence. Enhanced training can lead to certification and higher levels of performance in the job. As the business changes and jobs change, employees are trained in new methods.
- Project-related training – At times, teams will advance together in new process areas or problem-solving efforts. Six Sigma and Lean training is particularly valuable for teams trying to address improvement opportunities.
- Competencies for future opportunities – The most skilled individual in one process area can be woefully unaware of how to perform in a different area. Cross-training is common to provide flexibility for the organization as well as an expanded skillset for the employee. Beyond the work unit, enhance training in business functions, new technologies, and other areas can set up an individual for dramatic changes to a new role or new organization.
- Personal development – Some training will be individualized, with the goal of addressing perceived performance gaps or providing developmental growth. For example, this may involve helping an employee to manage anger, make decisions, become comfortable with public speaking or transition to a leadership role.
Several training tips
For many people in the working world, school days are distant memories. You may have forgotten many of the facts that you had to memorise in early grades; you may also feel that you’ve forgotten how to study…or simply don’t want to re-engage in the learning process. You’re not alone. Adult learners face many challenges and organizations use special trainers and training methods to address these issues. These tips might help you get the most out of any training you have.
- Be assertive in your training plans. Arrange discussion with your supervisor or training leader to lay out a plan for training sessions for job content or personal development. See this article on assertiveness if you struggle with this.
- Preview the training content to be sure you have the necessary background. It’s difficult to learn something new if it builds on content you simply don’t know. If necessary, arrange additional training to get up to speed before the session, pursue catch-up training on your own, or postpone the training until you have met the prerequisites.
- Be sure you understand why you’re being asked to attend the training. If you see the linkage to business or personal needs, it will become more valuable.
- Approach the training with a positive mindset. It may seem simple, but arriving at the session well-rested can make a big difference between getting something from the session and dozing through it.
- Ask questions. Others in the training session may have the same questions but be reluctant to put themselves forward. Again, assertiveness comes into play.
- Leverage the strengths of digital training by going back to modules that you need to review before moving on to new material.
- For adult learners, hands-on training, small group discussion, and project-related training tend to be more effective than lecture. If your instructor has not incorporated some of these methods into the training, be creative and help enhance the quality of the instruction.
- Ask to become a trainer. Many trainers say that they learn something new each time they deliver the same training content. Leverage the extensive skills that you have to help others and yourself. Not only will you provide value to your trainees, but you will also further enhance your own strengths.
- Even if you think a specific mandatory training session will be a waste of time, challenge yourself to look for at least three items of value from the session. You’ll walk away with that knowledge and may find yourself listening and engaged.
At the end of the day, you get out of training what you put into it. Make sure to give it your best effort for the greatest return.
Article kindly provided by Acuity Training – www.acuitytraining.co.uk
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