A recent CIPD report entitled ‘From ‘inadequate’ to ‘outstanding’: making the UK’s skills system world class’ notes that the UK is facing a big crisis in terms of skills caused by low employer expenditure on staff training. The report is a wake-up call to companies to invest more in the right training and the technology required to back it up, since forces such as increasing automation are increasing the need for continual training, upskilling and reskilling of the workforce. The report also notes that Brexit is forcing organisations “to think more about their future skills needs, assuming less access to migrant labour from the EU, and we have been falling behind in the investments we make in our workplaces.” Investing in training is key, but so is avoiding common training pitfalls. If you are planning on increasing your staff’s competitivity, watch out for these four pitfalls:
Failing to Provide Device-Friendly Content
If top customer relationship management platforms like Salesforce have proven one thing, it is the importance of providing cloud-based applications that staff can work on regardless of their location. According to Forbes, “ By delivering your content via mobile, tablet and desktop, companies ensure that their employees can engage with it whenever and wherever is most convenient.” Microsoft recently offered course content to their worldwide sales teams on desktop, mobile and smartphones, and the result was a $50,000 increase in revenue in one year. my Trailhead, meanwhile, is an excellent mobile-compatible platform that reinvents learning and enablement at companies, with customizable content, gamified learning, and on-demand, bite-size learning.
Failing to Identify Goals
Don’t be so keen on training staff that you don’t define a goal alongside them first. For instance, if you wish to up your company’s social media following, prior to hiring a consultant, brainstorm with your team regarding possible strategies to be adopted. Your employees will undoubtedly state specific skills they need to learn in order to achieve these goals. Thus, they may request a course on specific media, wish to learn more about audiovisual technology, or request training on analytics. Use their existing knowledge to expand on specific areas. It’s surprising yet true; the majority of employees don’t love what they do. Why not use training as a means to create greater engagement and job satisfaction?
Consider teaching staff micro rather than macro courses. This will enable them to retain information and enjoy the time they need to practise the skills they have learned. Rather than offering staff sessions that last for hours, keep things short and suite, aiming for sessions lasting less than half an hour.
Lack of Hands-On Training
Training in almost any industry these days focuses to a great degree on technology. Therefore, courses should include practical training. Employees should be able to test theoretical information with the trainer present, so as to have any queries answered immediately. If hands-on training is chosen, it should still be provided in a way that adapts to different learning styles. Reflective learners, for instance, will still need information to be provided in a written format and may benefit from consulting informative material beforehand; active learners, meanwhile, should be given plenty of opportunities to ‘learn on the job’.
Training is key when it comes to business success, but managers must make sure that the investment they make will bring measurable benefits. By offering device-friendly information, catering courses to employees’ needs and ensuring information is succinct and practical, companies can go a long way towards achieving increasingly ambitious goals.
Some of the biggest mistakes made by companies that provide training without a clear strategy include failing to place due importance on mobile compatibility, offering courses without defining goals first, teaching macro courses, and failing to provide training. If you are going to invest in training, make sure there is a specific goal to be achieved. If you really want to know what training is necessary, ask your staff. Their input will be highly valuable when it comes to identifying potential gaps in knowledge.