Dr Keen Mhlanga
Labour is the most crucial value any organisation wishing to succeed can have but is very much under rated. When businesses, companies and organisations are formed, they operate as legal entities in the form of artificial persons.
It is therefore valid to say that business units need humans to assist them in operations and running of their commercial activities. A company can only exist but without human capital its rendered invalid. The term human capital refers to the economic value of a worker’s experience and skills.
Labour often referred to as human capital, is perceived to increase productivity and thus profitability. The more investment a company makes in its employees, the chances of its productivity and success becomes higher. It is the responsibility of an organisation to retain a good reputable human capital through the human resources department.
Like any other form capital essential for a business to be successful the human capital itself is no exception. Human capital includes assets like education, training, intelligence, skills, health, and other things employers value such as loyalty and punctuality. As such, it is an intangible asset or quality that isn’t (and can’t be) listed on a company’s financial statement. In general terms any organisation looking forward to retaining quality and reputable employees invests in their training and development, hence corporate training by various business units around the globe.
In this day and age, technology and digital learning have gained the upper hand in people’s personal and professional lives, as well. One of the most proficient uses of technology is eLearning. Organizsations, too, are now using the same platforms to train their employees, the term for which is known as corporate training. Corporate training is the process of training employees through a system of activities that educate employees by using various forms of learning programmes.
It acts as a catalyst to success for employees, which, in turn, means the success of your business/organisation as a whole. Employees consider training as such an integral part of their work lives that, according to a survey by LinkedIn, 94 percent of employees would stay at a company if it invested in their learning needs. Learning Management System or LMS is a famous route for most organisations regarding online corporate training. It simplifies the process of training and evaluation of employees and helps in keeping track of their progress. The LMS industry is growing rapidly, and the market size is expected to go from USD 8.76 Billion in 2019 to USD 38.10 Billion by 2027.
Undoubtedly, every individual has their own idea of what makes a ‘good training programme’. The truth is there isn’t a unique model of what constitutes the ideal training programme. However, some things remain standard in all good training programs no matter the industry, the employee size, the purpose of the program, the geography and demography. There are generally three common training strategies namely face to face, on the job and online training.
Whatever modes and mediums you use to deliver workplace training, make sure they are interesting. There is nothing worse for an employee than having to go through a compliance training that they ‘have’ to do, and also happens to be ‘boring’ Face to face trainings can be sub-divided into interactive and traditional. Traditional, possibly the most commonly used training method (which mimics the widely used teaching method used in education institutions). This type of training accounts for on an average 42 percent of an organisaation’s training hours. It involves a trainer physically teaching multiple employees in a ‘classroom’ type of experience, usually with a power-point presentation as a visual aid. No doubt this style of training comes with its perks – the most notable being personal interaction. It sets up the opportunity for employees to ask trainers questions that may otherwise go unanswered in other modes. More importantly, it allows for relationship building between the employee and the trainer and among the employees learning together.
However, what it does not allow for is practice and scalability, and is often quite costly. It requires an instructor to be present at all times and may get difficult as more and more employees start to join –limited the personal interaction (which is this methods’ biggest advantage). From a trainer’s point of view, it gets challenging to cater to the needs and speeds of each participant as they don’t learn at the same pace. In any case, if this is your preferred method of training, endeavor to keep the morale and energy high by incorporating shorter sessions, breaks and allow for dedicated discussion and practice times. Interactive method takes the traditional classroom style training to a whole new and exciting level by incorporating group and interactive activities. This involves smaller group discussions, role playing, case study reviews, demonstrations and even games.
One in three employees say training is often uninspiring and discourages creative thinking, so this approach is recommended to increase overall engagement and develop much needed soft-skills. Interactive training can be effective as it encourages transfer of knowledge in all directions allowing participants to learn and share information from each other and helps keep the energy high. However, some people who are not outgoing, quieter or introverted may get lost in the shuffle. So, it is recommended you consider all types of trainee personas when including activities so they all feel involved and maximise learning.
On the job training dives straight into the practical, skipping all concepts and theory. It allows employees to get hands on experience of their roles quickly – often from day one. 52 percent adults believe this is the best way to learn, through active learning. This type of training can boost information recollection and improve knowledge retention as some employees’ dislike hours of training lectures.
However, others prefer to understand the concept first before directly diving into the practice. It is recommended to evaluate which employee would benefit from this method. Another way to incorporate this method without actually going all in is having your employee shadow someone (in a similar role as them) while they work. Online learning is gaining popularity with more organizations turning towards this type of training. 77 percent American companies offer some level of online learning as a readily available career development tool.
Online training programs are easier to scale as newer learning technologies can help understand the behavior, learning journey of each and every one of your employees taking the program. You can use online learning platforms like Smart Sparrow to incorporate interactive and adaptive elements in your online training programs. Employees are understandably busy with their job activities and hence this delivery method can help them learn in their own time and at their own pace.
Whilst online learning can restrict the personal connections that a face-to-face training program can provide, it opens up a whole new world of possibilities from infinite practice to shooting planets. Also, face-to-face time can be used to address misconceptions or weak points, surfaced by real-time learner data. If you want to maintain the trainer interaction consider blended training as an option. As the name suggests, blended training is a blend or combination of online training and ‘classroom’ style in person training. Some training topics are covered in person whilst the others can be completed online.
In business communication training cannot be separated from development. Employing training and development is essential for companies to strengthen their employee performance. It improves employees’ job skills and knowledge, which helps them improve performance in the workplace. The importance of corporate training can be assessed in two parts namely beneficial to the employee and beneficial to the organisation as a whole.
Firstly, corporate training can help the employees stay up-to-date with changes in industry rules, standards, etc. It can also encourage employees to think more freely and incorporate ingenuity in their work. Since the world is moving towards digitalisation, innovation and staying up-to-date with trends have become critical. Companies can also use training to increase the scope of their employees’ work responsibilities. Corporate training can help employees improve the skills for their current job roles and future roles as well, and online learning has proven to be an excellent method for acquiring new skills.
Corporate training can also help improve employees’ soft skills, which are essential in adapting to changes in the workplace. Examples of soft skills include emotional intelligence, communication, adaptability, and leadership, to name a few. After analysing millions of U.S job postings, a 2015 research has shown that one in three skills requested in job postings is a soft skill. Corporate training can have a significant impact on the productivity of employees.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity can measure the efficiency of a worker or group of workers. It can be measured in terms of output for an employee. An increase in productivity can be a product of well-organized and effective training programs, resulting in an improvement in task management, instilling confidence, targeting required skills, and clarifying the expectations of the employees. Productivity is a critical goal in today’s organizations, and quality training helps in getting the highest levels of productivity on a daily basis.
Organizations can find themselves with major advantages if they regularly train their employees, mainly through eLearning. There is no doubt in the fact that hiring new employees is always expensive for an organization. Compared to new hires, spending on a proven team has shown that the Return on Investment of corporate training is always a benefit. Training can drastically reduce the costs for a company as there is no need for an allotment of a salary package, fringe benefits, medical expenses, for a new employee. Over decades, one of the concerns for employees has always been low motivation to work.
Spending in corporate training helps create a supportive environment, and it shows employees that they are valued. This will allow the employees to work harder for the organization, as not all employees are motivated by money alone. Companies that are rated highly in investment in training have seen 53 percent lower employee attrition. The provision of corporate training has a direct connection to employee retention. It helps employees feel their job is vital for the company’s success, and the company is willing to invest money and time to have the job done right.
Training that improves decision-making and instills leadership qualities in an employee can prove beneficial for a company. Better decision-making can help improve the efficiency of a company which, in turn, can lead to more revenue and profits. A great leader in a team can help them innovate, leading to many beneficial ideas coming into the business. Training can expose gaps and weaknesses in employees and helps bring them to the surface to eliminate them. For example, employee A might be an excellent analytical person but lacking in communication, and employee B might be a good communicator but lacking in analytics, so these two employees could learn from each other’s strengths and build on them to improve their performance.
It can be concluded that corporate training has loads of benefits for an organization as well as employees, and learning through online means or an LMS can prove to be cost-effective and easy to design. The online training industry is growing fast, and getting in on this trend can help put companies much ahead of their competitors.
Dr Keen Mhlanga is the executive chairman of Finking Financial Advisory. He can be contacted on [email protected] or +263719516766