Training and development is an essential part of human resources policy but the significant benefits possible can be lost if training is not delivered in the most efficient way.

Training and development is an essential part of human resources policy but the significant benefits possible can be lost if training is not delivered in the most efficient way.

Under spending for value

Good quality training and development programmes are expensive, yet many companies shy away from pricier packages because training programmes often lack a demonstrable ROI. This makes it difficult to justify costs to senior decision-makers. However, under spending for value can often lead to poor quality training which reduces the potential impact on staff. Think about the quality and competency of the course and course leaders, then analyse the financials.

Company first, course second

Businesses often choose a professional training provider before they judge the courses on offer. With large marketing budgets and the ability to provide in-house training, larger companies appeal to businesses that want to provide training and development but don’t want to get their hands dirty. This often results in a less than adequate course that fails to address issues experienced by the attendants. Look at the quality of courses first – ask for testimonials if necessary – before you settle on a training company.

Not employee-led

Training and development programmes should be tailored to the individuals being trained, but many businesses think ‘top-down’ rather than ‘bottom-up.’ Ask employees what they feel weak on and what needs to be developed and try to find a unifying training course that works for everyone. You may need to book more than one course.

Failing to reinforce

Training and development is a long process but many companies fail to reinforce the knowledge gained once courses have concluded. The potential value of a course can be maximised in a number of ways; attendants can brief other employees on what has been learnt, and can prepare notes for future reference to ensure the benefit continues to be felt across future projects.

Completion equals success

Using completion of training as an indicator of success is often seen in businesses that do not follow up on training courses. This viewpoint discourages staff from considering how to apply what they’ve learnt in a commercial environment and integrating new knowledge with their current thoughts and ideas. The potential benefit of training becomes severely limited.

Ignoring ‘soft’ business skills

Companies understandably emphasise industry-related training programmes to improve the firm’s professional standing. Yet business success often comes down to softer skills, such as communication and teamwork. Even improved computer skills can reduce frustration and increase output. Aim to offer training courses for both technical skills and ‘soft’ business skills in order to maximise the benefit.

Not treating training as an ongoing process

Training and development is an ongoing process that builds up foundations over time. Businesses should not see training and development as a one-time cost, but as a long-term process that nurtures both the reputation and ability of the business, in addition to the happiness of employees. Maximising what is gained from training and development will help businesses realise its true value and therefore prioritise it in the long-term.