It is universal, that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. You have just been thrown into the deep end of a new job with no training. You are literally left to simply do the job, to sink or swim.

Like the butt end of a bad joke, the horns of this particular managerial dilemma goes something like this: ‘if we train them, they will leave us for better jobs, but imagine if we don’t and they stay?

It is clear that untrained employees often feel lost and disconnected from their community of colleagues, and uncertain of their ability to do the job. Colleagues are often too busy to offer much guidance. When employees flounder and feel out of their depth, ultimately, productivity suffers. Yet unfortunately, some companies are still insecure about briefing and training employees, and worried that their investment will be lost when the employee moves on, perhaps to a competitor. They question whether they will grow and develop within the company or outgrow it?

According to The Japan Times, it is ‘wishful thinking’ to assume that ‘the market will take care of it’ and that workers will somehow develop their own ‘swimming stroke’, discovering how and where to acquire the required skills. Often, potential employees don’t know what skills will be needed, as they may be unfamiliar with established methodology and conventions, and unsure of the key objectives. On the other side, employers may only offer training within strict financial and time constraints, and on a ‘need-to-know’ basis. This is, in effect, a decision to under-invest in human resources.

Is Employee Training an Employer Benefit?

Collins dictionary defines training as ‘the process of learning the skills that are needed for a particular job or activity.’ Therefore, it should constitute a key objective for all organizations to help each individual become effective and productive, contribute to shared goals and feel confident in their work.

From a corporate perspective, training is also an opportunity to establish expectations, focus on successful performance and share best practices. This helps increase customer satisfaction and retention, and improves productivity.

From the employee’s perspective, it is an opportunity to network, improve understanding and expand their skillset. These are prerequisites for self-confidence and any justified sense of achievement. Training can be the path towards a promotion or increase prospects of a raise; new employees are given the opportunity to learn, and to feel happy in their work.

Become a Magnet for Talent

Training also plays a major role in attracting talent. For example, Google, one of the most sought-after employers globally, stresses the importance of learning and investing in its employees and their development. Many prospective employees now value the promise of training when looking for jobs, seeing new skills as an essential insurance that will help their personal survival. Job seekers are keen to acquire qualifications, but increasingly their exam certificates are less important to the employer than being made of ‘the right stuff’. Companies with a unique culture, approach and methodology are typically less-trusting of external training and qualifications, and more willing to provide their own training and orientation to new employees.

In recognition of this, in June 2020, Microsoft announced a new initiative aimed at bringing digital skills to 25 million people worldwide by the end of the year, saying: ‘one of the key steps needed to foster a safe and successful economic recovery is wider teaching of the digital skills needed to fill new jobs.’ One of the main points of this initiative is that it will be targeted at those who find it hardest to get a job: people with lower incomes, women and minorities. It will supply free access to education and job-seeking tools and hope to make students part of a professional community in which they will more quickly feel more confident and welcome.

As working from home becomes increasingly common, it is important to realize that it also effectively reduces the opportunity to observe and learn from colleagues. It can remove the unobtrusive monitoring, friendly encouragement and practical support that every new swimmer needs. Training regimes may need to be reviewed in the light of these changes.

Fear of losing trained workers leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy. Research shows that good training plays a key role in employee satisfaction and improves retention. In fact, job seekers lay more emphasis on the potential for training than on financial rewards or corporate kudos.

An employee who is enabled to do well, will. An employee who feels invested in, will invest themselves in the company.

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The Habtic Standard Editorial Team

The Habtic Standard Editorial Team occasionally dabbles in writing articles that go through the same pre-publication review process as all other articles. The team has a combined editorial experience of over 30 years.

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