There has been a shift in the way business leaders view workplace training, a shift that bodes well for the training arena despite fluctuating economic and political stability.
People are no longer sent on training just because they asked to go or for a ‘reward’, says Liza Van Wyk,CEO AstroTech Training. "Business takes training a lot more seriously than it did in years gone by".
Traditional business philosophy sometimes treated workplace training as a type of "reward" practice. It was primarily used as an incentive which managers dangled in front of underperforming employees.
In addition the responsibility for continuous skills development was largely placed on the individual. Workers who wanted to broaden their skill set had to initiate the processes by requesting training from supervisors or HR managers.
Today, training tools such as Personal Development Plans (PDP) and career advice is gaining popularity in the workplace.
"The cost of training is taken very seriously and companies are selective in terms of where they believe they will get high-quality training and in turn a good return on their investment", asserts Van Wyk.
Training packages have become more personalised as both HR practitioners and training providers wake up to the need for a targeted training approach.
Another contributor to the training revolution is the changing attitudes of employees toward skills development. High unemployment rates and competitive job markets have prompted employees to maintain skills sets that are current and marketable.
Due to the challenging nature of people management there has been a significant increase in the amount of professionals seeking training in this area.
In addition, business tends to value ’hard skills’ that include; finance, business writing, contracts and sales. Anything where there can be an immediate (and preferably measurable) impact on the business following the training.
Courses and training programmes in labour law, problem solving and project management are also popular amongst working professionals.
Business can play its part to promote training in the workplace by:
- Providing sponsorship
- Providing time off to attend training or to study for exams
- Offering on-the-job training in the field of study
- Assisting employees with career development goals that tie into training needs in line with business objectives.
- Encouraging any form of learning that benefits both the company and the individual.
Van Wyk urges HR professionals to get to grips with the business strategy and any gaps or hindrances to successfully achieving that strategy. "Also, analyse the performance reviews of staff and identify where individuals have development needs. Using the above put a training plan in place and manage it on an on-going basis."