Find out what they want. Along with matching the employee’s current skills with the position, it is also important to understand what training the employee needs. Clearly, the next best opportunity to find out what the employee wants and needs is through a performance appraisal discussion. This is when you can determine what added skills will contribute to performance improvement. But the bottom line is to ask what the employee thinks.
Remember that this training process is definitely an individual program and should be treated as such. Some of these desires may be to position the employee for future growth or for leadership roles. You can also find out what employees may want through surveys, questionnaires, and meetings focused on the subject of training.
Observe. The process of management by walking around (MBWA) puts you in touch with employees in the workplace. Discuss with individuals what they are doing and how they are doing it. Try to determine if added skills or enhanced knowledge would make a difference in their performance. An employee’s morale is dependent on the understanding of his job and the ease with which he accomplishes it. If added skills will make a happier employee, then you are closer to where you need to be.
Self Actualization. Some training does not directly benefit the company, but it will benefit the employees and enable them to feel better about themselves. Often this falls into health and welfare considerations. I am often reminded of the client who paid for one of his employees to attend an exercise class. She felt better about herself for doing it and she was a better employee as a result.
Just Do It!
Training must be a stable, continuous part of your company strategy and growth plans. It must be a key factor in the development and retention of employees. And remember, while there may be costs associated with training, it is less than the cost you will incur if you need to replace an employee who becomes disgruntled by your lack of support to his or her career development.
Now is the time to be proactive in moving you and your staff to the next level. The success of your business depends on it.