The dangers of overlooking your employees’ training needs

by Brett Henebery04 May 2017
Having a pulse on the training needs of your employees not only helps them to develop their skills, but also helps prevent potential issues. However, sometimes the training needs of employees can be overlooked.

For example, in large organisations it is common for this issue to slip through the cracks and create a situation where an employee lacks sufficient training to carry out his or her task in the best possible way.

The 2017 Workplace Learning Report found that the average shelf life of skills is less than five years. Not surprisingly, this is a problem for any organisation with long-term employees.

When developing a training program, many companies also tend overlook culture-based learning. Whether an employee is new or not, ongoing training around the company’s cultural expectations is crucial.

Educator, professional speaker, and top LinkedIn Learning Author, Professor Todd Dewett, says too many training dollars are misspent because they “do not address the right skills at the right time”.

“We often apply off-the-shelf information instead of thoughtful knowledge. Transitioning to a learning consultant begins with mastering the art of listening,” he said.

For employees who are aged 45 and over (mature-age workers), this is particularly important.

A recent report found that mature-age workers who feel frustrated and overwhelmed with their training can resort to disengagement, which is a costly problem for organisations.

“Disengaged workers don’t perform to their full capability, and can cost an organisation 30% of their salary in lost productivity,” said Carol T. Kulik, Sanjeewa Perera and Christina Cregan, who led a recent study, titled: ‘Engage me: the mature-age worker and stereotype threat’
Another cause of this issue, says one L&D professional, is the lack of clearly defined training guidelines.

Speaker, trainer and coach, Mark McPherson – who spoke at the Learning & Development Masterclass held in Sydney on 30 November – said that while it might sound basic, many organisations don’t properly inform their staff exactly what it is that they expect from them.

“If, for example, you're on the frontline of an organisation dealing with the public: how many customers should you be serving in a shift and how long should you be spending on average with each customer?” he told L&D Professional.

“If your job is to sweep the railway station from one end to the other and make it 'as clean as possible', has somebody actually told you how long it should take to do the job? And is it clear what 'as clean as possible' actually means?”

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