Learning and development (L&D) has been a recurring topic among HR circles. It’s one of the most important subsets of Human Resources since it aims to improve employee work performance through upskilling employees. It helps align the company’s long term vision with your employee’s long term goals in order to create a win-win situation for both parties.
With the significance of L&D in today’s workforce, it should come as no surprise that many companies are rapidly investing in training programs in order to address their company’s need for learning and development. However, not all training programs seem to be as effective as employers thought they would be. The challenges faced in training and development can be a lot, but with the right solutions, they’ll be easy to address.
Current Issues in Training and Development And Their Solutions
Problem 1: Not Addressing Employee Needs
Training requires much planning and much intention. However, many companies seem to be going on autopilot with their learning and development ventures.
According to Edna “Bo Peep” Franco of ATENEO CORD, most companies invest in regular learning and development programs for their employees in the hopes of keeping their skills up to date. Despite having regular investment in these training programs, however, they may not exactly be addressing their employee’s needs. Companies seem to only give out regular training which they think their employees need, but in reality, they actually don’t.
Here’s an example of this employee training issue: the sales team of Company A undergoes a communications training every quarter of the year and nothing more. The sales team may not need this training every quarter since they could have mastered these skills already or they may be already learning from their on-the-ground experience.
Instead, the sales team could need the training to upskill a particular skill set, such as negotiation skills, lead generation, etc.
Problem 2: Fitting Into Employee Schedule
Training can be a hassle since employees usually have to take training sessions outside their working hours. Employees may express their concern or apprehension for taking training outside their working hours. This would mean taking more time off from them that they could use to rest or spend on leisure.
Additionally, if training isn’t mandatory, attendance may be low which may affect the success of your learning and development investment.
Problem 3: Not As Effective As It Should Be
Despite all the careful planning and thoughtful consideration for your learning and development efforts, you might find out that it wasn’t as effective as you thought it would be. Your employees’ skills might not have been upskilled in the program. In fact, some companies even notice that the training they’ve invested into may have actually made their employees more inefficient with work–further confusing them in the process.
Ineffective training tends to happen if you follow these wrong training practices:
• Hired the wrong mentor
Mentors can be classified into two types: preachers and practitioners.
Preachers are mentors who have read or attended plenty of talks regarding a particular topic or a particular skill set. They have a ton of head knowledge but weren’t able to apply this head knowledge into their fields.
Practitioners, on the other hand, are mentors who’ve become experts in their field by applying the theories and knowledge that they’ve acquired over the years. They’ve learned through experience.
Practitioners are the mentors you want to get since they have first-hand experience in their field and truly know what they’re talking about. Preachers are ones you want to avoid since what they know might not exactly be applicable in practice.
• Lack of application
The best way to retain information is by learning how to apply it personally. If after the training session–or even during the training session itself–employees aren’t able to apply it to their work, then their newly acquired knowledge may simply fly off their heads after a few days.
• Failure to address the different learning styles of employees
Everyone has different learning styles and learning habits, which is why a one-size-fits-all type of training program isn’t effective.
Some people would understand concepts and practices better when they’re taught a certain way. Others would comprehend them when they’re taught another way. If every employee is taught the same way, not all of their learning styles might be adhered to.
(Related Article: 5 Training Practices That Do More Harm Than Good)
How Companies Can Solve These Employee Training Issues
1. Assess Employee Training Needs
Companies should invest in learning and development programs that are directed towards addressing their needs, instead of investing in ones that they think their employees need.
One way to do this is by first identifying your employees’ skills gap by answering these questions:
- What is their role in the company?
- Are they performing well in their current role?
- What skills do they currently excel at?
- What are skills are they lacking to perform better at their role?
After answering these questions, you should be able to identify the skills gap of your employees and determine what they need in order to perform better.
Another way to do this is by getting your employees insight. Ask them about the challenges they’re facing in their current role, what difficulties are hindering them from being able to perform better, and what training could you give them in order to address these needs.
This would help in maximizing their employee’s growth potential and equip them with better capabilities to do their job.
2. Create Customized Training Programs
Creating customized training programs for employees helps you maximize your training investment and actively engages the employees to be more involved in their organizational growth.
Personalized training programs help employees understand the concepts and practices better since they are designed to not only address the employees’ training needs but also their learning styles. It would also help the company in the long run when they adapt to a more personalized approach when it comes to training, especially with the millennials and Gen Z already entering the workforce.
For example, if employees learn better when they are able to experience or interact with the concepts rather than just reading about them. They would then be able to understand how things work in their own terms and apply them to their work better as well.
On top of that, customized training programs also actively put the employees in a position where they can contribute to their company’s growth. These training programs not only bridge the gap of their employees’ skill sets but also that of the company’s since these programs are personalized to both the employees’ and company’s needs.
3. Make Training More Accessible
Fitting employee training sessions into their schedule can hassle both the organization and the employee themselves. Employers need to find a way to make training more accessible to them so that training doesn’t come in the way of the employees’ work schedule anymore.
If training is easily accessible, employees can take charge of their own learning.
For example, companies can enroll employees for online courses that they can read or watch during their downtime or after office hours. Companies can also create training plans with mentors that contain bite-sized learning sessions that only take 30 minutes away from the employees’ working time.
If employees are able to dictate their own training time, they could also allocate more energy and focus on learning and upskilling themselves as opposed to when they’re at seminars and they’re worried about the other things they have to do.
4. Monitor Employee Training Progress
A company’s involvement in employee training shouldn’t stop at planning and executing the training program but must continue through monitoring their progress.
Keeping a close eye on the effectiveness of their training can help you identify what’s working and what’s not and quickly address these concerns to the mentors to see what can be done about them.
For post-training, a good way to track employee training effectiveness is by providing a feedback platform for the employees. The feedback platform would not only help the companies know what they could improve on but also what the employee wants in terms of training. This could be in the form of surveys, focused group discussions, or open forums.
At the end of the day, companies should keep their employees’ interests when it comes to these matters so that their efforts aren’t put to waste. A company’s learning and development efforts shouldn’t only revolve around their own welfare but also that of their workers in order to avoid employee training issues. Walking towards one unified goal, after all, should consider all parties involved and not just the one.
Watch out for more detailed articles on these points!
SkillBean provides a free workplace training platform in the Philippines where companies can request a variety of skills training such as communication skills and leadership skills.
If you’re ready to better respond to your employee’s L&D needs, book a meeting with us by sending an e-mail to [email protected] and know how you can empower your workforce by personalizing learning through technology.