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Did you know that half of an employee’s skills are outdated within three to five years?

In order to have a business that is fully functional and productive, smart business owners train and develop their employees. When opportunities exist within the company for promotions, upgrading employee skill sets and keeping track of staff that have developed the required skills will ensure that you as the business owner will be able choose the employee that is the best fit for the position.

Other benefits of training and development include:

  • Less employee turnover
  • Financial gain as a result of increased productivity
  • Less need for supervision

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What is Training?
Training is an activity that provides an employee with the knowledge, skills and ability that is necessary to succeed in their current or future job. Training could be required as a result of new technology being introduced, changes in the job related tasks or processes, issues with current performance or because the employee is new to the job.

What is Development?
Development is generally an activity associated with providing existing employees with new skills, abilities and knowledge that will help build their capability within an organization. For instance a developmental opportunity could be cross training between different divisions within an organization so that several employees are capable of covering off in various divisions should the need arise. Development opportunities can be used to assist with promotion and could include programs that help selected employees acquire managerial skills in the event of a managerial opening within the company. Some employers use development as a tool for keeping workers.

What is Promotion?
Promotion is the advancement of an employee within an organization. It could mean a change in job, pay and/or benefits. Generally employees earn promotions as a result of good job performance or because the employee has demonstrated the skills and abilities required for the new position.

Determining Training Needs

In order to determine what your company’s training needs are, you must answer the following questions:

  • Will there be any changes in the way we are doing business?
  • Who will these changes affect?
  • What will staff need to know in order to do their jobs well?
  • What is the most effective way that staff in our business learn?
  • What is the best way to get this training to staff?
  • Do we have any other training needs?
  • What types of training are available to meet these needs?
  • Which types are the most cost effective?

Accessing Employee Training

Cost effective ways you can access training for your employees include:

  • Contacting local colleges and universities to identify relevant existing programs or create a program to meet your training needs;
  • Finding existing seminars or conferences that staff can attend;
  • Making contact with local employer groups such as Industry Associations, Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade and request their assistance in the provision of training that may be common to their memberships (*Please note there may be a membership cost to avail of assistance through these groups);
  • Using online training or web-based seminars;
  • Having trained employees train other staff;
  • Providing incentives such as tuition reimbursement to employees to attend job related training or education outside of company time;
  • Buddy system – new employees are partnered with a more experienced worker.
  • Job enrichment - working with the employee to add new challenges and duties to the current job;
  • Lateral moves – moving the employee to a new position at the same level of responsibility;
  • Relocation – employee moves to a new facility or community;
  • Rotating jobs or tasks –employees rotate responsibilities with other employees in the             company;
  • Coaching – designated staff work with employee to improve their work performance. Coach could be a supervisor, co-worker or an outside consultant;
  • Mentoring – staff act as role models to help an employee understand the organization and explore potential career paths;
  • Committee work – employee serves or takes on the lead of a committee; and
  • Learning plans - employee develops an individual learning plan with their supervisor outlining their responsibilities and goals.

The key to training, developing and promoting staff is to ensure that you as the business owner are walking-the-talk. This means that you are demonstrating and communicating the value of continuous learning at all times for all your employees.

Training Records and Evaluation

It is recommended that you keep a record of what training staff has attended and when it took place. This is particularly important for training required by government legislation such as safety related training. This training record will allow you to identify any training and development gaps you may have.

It is also important to evaluate whether the training your staff has participated in has been effective. By completing an evaluation on each training opportunity provided you can identify what worked, what didn’t how things may be improved or changed, and whether or not it was cost effective.

1 Source: Under the Labour Radar: www.workbc.ca

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