Training - How to Make it Pay

by Stephen Newton

Common questions

  1. Why should I train my people?
  2. What other options should I consider?
  3. How should I go about assessing the needs for training?
  4. How should I go about selecting training suppliers?

 

1. Why should I train my people?

  • If you do not provide your people with ongoing training and development, their skills will almost certainly fall out of date.
  • It may be a regulatory (for example, Health & Safety) requirement to provide ongoing training and assessment.
  • Their ability to provide you with flexibility in covering absence through sickness and so on will likely be reduced if you fail to train them to undertake additional tasks.
  • Research indicates that training and other development opportunities are seen by employees as evidence that the employer values them. This in turn builds ‘employee engagement’, which can give rise to increased performance for no additional cost.

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2. What other options should I consider?

Training is only one of many possible development activities. You could also consider

  • Direct supervision on the job
  • Academic study/using publications or videos and so on (‘book learning’)
  • E-learning (or computer-based training), combined with self-testing or external moderation
  • Working to set specifications or procedures.

There are many other options, depending on your particular field. Your choice must be made to suit the individual’s needs and capabilities, as well as the job requirements.

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3. How should I go about assessing the needs for training?

You should carry out a formal Training Needs Assessment. There are several online tools that can help you to do this. However, a simple but effective approach is to determine (and write down) what specific outcomes both you and trainee seek as a result of the training and over what time-frame. Once the desired outcomes, benefits, review process and so on are agreed, write them down. Both you, as the manager, and the trainee should sign that document to make sure that there is no misunderstanding.

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4. How should I go about selecting training suppliers?

In many cases, this is the responsibility of your firm’s HR or Learning and Development Department. If you are to select your own suppliers and there is no guidance available from HR people in your firm, you can start by using Google to identify possible suppliers locally or approach the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development: www.cipd.co.uk) for suggestions. You must interview each supplier on your shortlist in order to ensure that not only do they have the relevant skills to offer at a reasonable price, but that you essentially ‘like and trust’ the person you meet. If you do not, avoid selecting that firm. Experience indicates that to use people you do not like and trust instinctively is likely to lead to problems.

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