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Under what situations can training be financially justified? Highly trained and competent employees are great assets to any company. These employees grow and change as the business changes. Workplace training programs, therefore, are integral to overall employee effectiveness which, in turn, positively impacts company performance.
Strengths and Weaknesses of Workplace Training Programs
The arguments against training, often, is that they cannot afford to have direct labor employees taken away from their normal work and put into training sessions. Workplace training programs are viewed as a loss of productivity and is considered an expense. However, there is always time and means to rework bad products or to accept high scrap rates. Besides, it should be understood that highly trained, competent employees are among a company’s greatest assets. These employees grow and change as the business changes. They are a tangible part of the company.
Read more about how training is perceived;
How to Provide Good Training
Training activities, whether classroom or on-the-job, must have willing participants and enthusiastic instructors. Along with the enthusiasm, the instructor must be a subject matter expert or at least have subject knowledge a couple of levels beyond the trainee. Workplace training programs work best if:
- Managers are involved in the training needs identification and program development.
- There is an understanding that the purpose of training is to change behavior.
- Expectations are created prior to the training.
- Training is Simple, Relevant, and Factual
- Juran’s thinking is followed in that the vital few concepts are taught and not the trivial many.
- There is an understanding that training is not an expense, rather it is an investment.
- Effective training programs in general follow a Deming Cycle: Training needs are identified;Training is developed;Training is delivered;Training feedback and effectiveness are obtained.
- In-House trainers are well trained, enthusiastic and passionate ‘experts’.
- Training is made as enjoyable as possible for both the trainer and trainees.
- Training is considered part of one’s job. When a person goes back to their normal activities the work is not piled up waiting for them to catch up, rather it has been distributed to others as much as possible.
Read more about good training practices;
Results of Good Workplace Training Programs
The purpose of workplace training programs is to change behavior, regardless of the level of training. Everyone wants positive behavior or positive behavior changes. By encouraging continuous improvement, good training programs lead to positive behaviors and changes.
Read the more about results of good training;
Organizations get better with well developed workplace training programs. After all training is supposed to induce a positive behavior change. An organization that is improving or getting better reduces waste, increases sales, gets better at beating out the competition and becomes more profitable.
According to management expert Tom Peters, “if your company is doing well, double your training budget; if your company is not doing well, quadruple it!” Training is an investment in employees. Effective workplace training programs lead to positive behavior change, which will surely help the organization in good times and in bad.
Financial justification for training should not be based on treating training as an expense. It is an investment and any decision should be made based on this distinction.
Why don’t some companies do training, then?
For one thing, managers, including top management, don’t understand the benefits and need for thoroughly training employees at all levels. Secondly, managers don’t understand that employee training is an investment and not an expense. Note that both of the reasons rest with management.
Managers, who are often not trained past their education or OJT, do not understand the need for and benefit of a well-trained workforce. The key element here is the need for enlightenment. Different people learn differently and, a company needs to invest in their entire workforce, with relevant and appropriate training. As management becomes more enlightened (trained), they will see the need and benefit for a well trained hourly and professional workforce.
Too often companies are run by cost and tax returns (the accounting department). While the discussion of this will have to wait for another article, companies operating in this mode typically have problems. Companies in this mode will state that they cannot afford to have direct labor employees taken away from their normal work and put into training sessions. This activity is measured as a loss of productivity and is considered an expense.
To learn more about implementing continuous process improvement within your organization, attend the next improvement class How to Align a System of People and Processes for Results . Or, Learn How to Create Well-Defined Processes and to document processes.