Training and Development

Training and Development: Human resources of an organization are the greatest asset and the investment in its training and development is an investment in human capital and not just as another expense. Training can help employees better understand the information they are given and can encourage them to play a fuller part in the way the organization conducts its affairs. Training courses in particular can be a useful way of giving employees factual information about their employment because they necessarily include a substantial element of explanation and provide opportunities for questions to be answered.

a) Need of Training: The need for training exists when there is a gap between what one is doing now and what one needs to do. It applies to areas of knowledge or skill when there is a need of-

i) Carrying out a new task;

ii) Performing an existing task at a higher level;

iii) Implementing some change in the job;

iv) Becoming more familiar with an area of work.

Training increases confidence, and develop new ways of working with other people. The other benefits of training and education in any organization includes-

i) Increased Productivity: The modern times need a highly skilled workforce to stay competitive.

ii) Fewer Errors: Organizations that grow are those that obtain and manage knowledge the quickest and cheapest. They need to quickly distribute information globally to employees, customers and partners and manage their training process with an eye firmly on the bottom line while acknowledging new products, changes in technology and just in time learning requirements.

iii) Higher Staff Moral: The training and development must also result in behavioural change, make a difference to business results as well as meet the needs of the learner.

iv) Product Consistency: To help ensure a good return, organizational training and education must be focused on its needs and must result in measurable changes in knowledge, skills and abilities.

b) Factors Need to be Considered in Training and Development: Wherever possible training should be participative and trainees should be encouraged to exchange views, take part in discussions and share ideas and experiences. Such participation not only makes for more effective training but also helps to foster the idea of employee involvement. At a minimum an organization needs to consider five basic questions with respect to learning and a healthy return on investment. These are:

i) What to Train: What skills are needed to meet current and future business goals?

ii) Who to Train: Who needs to be trained in the role that contributes best to meet business needs?

iii) Where to Train: Where is training most effectively best carried out: on-the-job, in a face-to-face environment or does hybrid models need to be put in place?

iv) When to Train: When is the best time to schedule training so it meets the dynamic demands of the workplace?

v) How to Train: Which delivery options are available to aid in the learning process and how should these options be combined to be most effective?

c) Types of Training: Training needs can be met in a variety of ways. On job training i.e. learning by doing by a structured, monitored and assessed activity within the job itself is good for training.

d) Measuring the Return on Training and Development: Return on Investment (ROI) is determined by taking the actual cost of the training from the total value of the benefits.  This sum is then divided by the cost of the training.  The first step in measuring ROI is to itemize costs. Once costs are determined the various benefits can be counted.  Typical tangible benefits include:

i) Time savings

ii) Improved productivity

iii) Labor savings

iv) Improved quality

v) Improved health and safety

vi) Better employee moral

A poor return on investment does not mean that the training and education is inherently ineffective.  The learning may be poorly planned and badly implemented, if it is implemented at all.  Employees who are involved in training without assessing needs, either theirs or the organizations’, may find their newly acquired skills not effectively integrated into the workplace.

e) Challenges in Training: The challenges in training comes from the following two factors mainly-

i) Information Explosion: A vast amount of information is available, to train the staff, what should be taken and what to avoid.

ii) Rapid Rate of Change: Technology becomes obsolete in a day or two so how often does knowledge need to be updated.

f) Impact of Technology on Training and Development: Technology-enabled learning is not ever going to replace the role of direct peer and/or instructor contact in learning.  Technology and personal contact can be used to complement each other, primarily because there are aspects of training that technology can provide for, and aspects that are best left to the human touch in the traditional settings.

            However, technology-enabled learning has removed the confines of the traditional learning environment and provided unprecedented access to quality learning resources regardless of the location of the learner.

The Web has also brought together widespread communities of learners both inside and outside the organization.  This combination has empowered both learners and organizations to take control of learning, making the concept of individualized lifelong learning a reality.  The vision of customized learning anytime, anywhere has arrived and learning will never be the same again. Web has the advantage of reduced costs, scalable delivery and other technological advantages in providing training and development for any organization. The evolution of information and communications technology in the learning environment is revolutionizing the perception, practice and process of learning.  Technology is changing both the structure and the business of learning.

Current technology provides four complementary learning enhancements that help learners to learn anytime, anywhere.  While far from distinct and often integrated, these elements form a baseline for understanding the new paradigm of learning that is taking place in organizations of all types and sizes. The advantages of web in training can be seen in the form of the following points-

i) Access to Content: The web is making information available to learners and enabling real-time, real-world exploration from the desktop.

ii) Distributed Learning: The Web is providing unparalleled learning materials that integrate rich curriculum, expert instruction, and global discussions through a distributed repository.

iii) Individualized Learning: The Web is providing the tools to tailor content and instruction to the unique learning needs and styles of organizations. Learners can be directed through integrated diagnostic assessments to linked, supplemental enrichment or remedial curriculum.

iv) Improved Communications: The Web is facilitating efficient and effective contact and enabling peer networks and learner interaction with facilitators.

g) Let Us Sum Up: The benefits of training and education in any organization includes increased productivity, fewer errors, higher staff moral, lower turnover rates, product consistency, and customer advocacy amongst others.

More and more organizations are starting to understand that both learning and knowledge have enterprise-wide implications and have to be aligned directly and firmly to business goals.  Also, many more options are available to disseminate knowledge and aid in learning today.  Technology-enabled training includes computer-based instruction; web based tutoring, electronic mentoring and workshops, virtual classrooms, video streaming and a wide variety of personalized training models.  These delivery methodologies, when blended in some way with the face-to-face method, create new and powerful models to help people learn – anytime, anywhere; always on, always there. A huge amount of money is currently being spent training people and the growth of this investment is staggering.

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