Stay Relevant At Work - Training for Managers and Staff

Prof. Sheperd Sikhosana

Introduction


With emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Blockchain and Data Visualization, which are transforming businesses digitally, the importance of continuous training cannot be overemphasised. The professional environment has really become very dynamic and this is evidence that we are living in the days and times of Fourth Industrial Revolution. Business strategies and processes require constant alignment to the environmental changes if organisations are to be sustainable is this dynamic environment. One of the alignment activities needed are staff training and development to ensure the most important asset at the workplace is fine-tuned to meet the expected standards.

Training presents a golden opportunity to expand the knowledge base of all employees, but many employers in the current climate find development opportunities expensive. Employees attending training sessions also miss out on work time which may delay the completion of projects. However, despite these potential drawbacks, training and development provides both the individual and organisations as a whole with benefits that make the cost and time a worthwhile investment. The return on investment from training and development of employees is really a no brainer. Regular trainings ensure that employees and organisations stay relevant to the economies they operate in.

Benefits of training to both employers and employees


Benefit 1 – Improved employee performance
An employee who receives the appropriate and quality training is better able to perform well in a given job. The well-designed training intervention gives an employee a good understanding of her responsibilities within her role, and in turn builds and boosts one’s confidence. This confidence enhances one’s overall performance and this concomitantly benefits the organisation. Managers and staff members who are competent and on top of their game, at the work place, add a lot of value to the organisations they work for and resultantly such organisations with such employees become industry leaders.

Benefit 2 – Improved employee satisfaction and morale 
When organisations invest in training their employees, such an act projects a positive image and the fact that such organisations place a high value or premium on their employees. When employees feel valued by their employers, their morale is boosted. Employees who feel appreciated and challenged through training opportunities may feel more satisfaction toward their jobs. A happy and satisfied employee is a productive employee.  Employees, when offered such training opportunity will feel that the workplace is a supportive workplace and this improves employee retention. Employers who have a strong staff development policy ensure that employees gain access to training which they would not have otherwise known about or sought out themselves.

Continuous process re-engineering due to technological improvements will result in employees having some weaknesses in their workplace skills. A training program allows strengthening those skills that each employee needs to improve. A development program brings all employees to a higher level so that they attain similar skills and knowledge. This helps reduce any weak links within the company who rely heavily on others to complete basic work tasks. Providing the necessary training creates an overall knowledgeable staff with employees who can take over for one another as needed, work on teams or work independently without constant help and supervision from others.

Benefit 4 – Consistency 
A well designed and planned training and development program ensures that employees have a consistent experience and background knowledge. The consistency is particularly relevant for the company’s basic policies and procedures. All employees need to be aware of the expectations and procedures within the company. Increased efficiencies in processes results in financial gain for the company.


Benefit 5 – Increased productivity and adherence to quality standards
Productivity usually increases when a company implements training courses. Increased efficiency in processes will ensure project success which in turn will improve the company turnover and potential market share.

Benefit 6 – Increased innovation in new strategies and products 
On-going training and up-skilling of the workforce can encourage creativity. New ideas can be formed as a direct result of training and development.

Benefit 7 – Reduced employee turnover 
Staff are more likely to feel valued if they are invested in and therefore, less likely to change employers. Training and development is seen as an additional company benefit. Recruitment costs therefore go down due to staff retention.


Benefit 8 – Enhances company reputation and profile
 
Having a strong and successful training strategy helps to develop your employer brand and make your company a prime consideration for graduates and mid-career changes. Training also makes a company more attractive to potential new recruits who seek to improve their skills and the opportunities associated with those new skills. Training can be of any kind relevant to the work or responsibilities of the individual, and can be delivered by any
appropriate method.

Conclusion


Organisations, as part of their strategy, should include training as one of their key initiatives as it ensures that staff members become motivated, more knowledgeble, effective and efficient and that in totality results in a highly performing organisations. A highly performing organisation tends to be highly profitable thereby increasing the shareholder value and contributing to the economic growth of the country.