Training has undergone some shifting in recent years. Some of the changes are subtle, others not so much. Today we’re going to take a look at four critical weaknesses of traditional training programs. You might see some of your own organization’s training practices detailed here, so take some time to consider if you’re getting the most bang for your training bucks.
- Lack of flexibility – Employees get a course syllabus and an expectation to keep up with the instructor at all times, no matter what else they have going on in life.
- Geographic access issues – If employees are not near the corporate headquarters, they might not even receive any formal training.
- Uniform training for diverse needs – Even if employees face different challenges or have differing learning needs, everyone receives the same one-size-fits-all training.
- Cost prohibitive – First you buy the materials. Then you hire the trainer. Then you pay your people for the time they are training but not working productively. Then you find out that the training wasn’t even that great in the first place, so you start the process over again.
Nothing too surprising in that list, but let’s take a step back and think for a moment. The trend today is to look at these areas not as weaknesses, but as opportunities. Let’s turn each of these four items around and see them as the opportunities they are for your organization.
The Four Opportunities
- Replace rigid training structures with self-paced programs that allow learners to go as fast (or slow) as needed in order to gain the most knowledge from the training course.
- Offer online alternatives to in-person training in order to open the opportunities up to staff in diverse geographic regions. This also reduces the time and expense associated with traveling.
- Allow employees to have a more selective approach to training. If they have required courses to take, also offer some additional elective-type training opportunities for the staff to target areas of interest for learning. Learn about how KLM Royal Dutch Airlines offers employees the opportunity to learn any language the employee is personally interested in.
- Incorporating these three components takes care of the final item in the list. Allowing employees to pursue self-paced, online, and self-directed training opportunities has the added benefit of reducing overall costs compared to traditional methods.
Power to the People
The bottom line on training? People want a say in what opportunities they have, when the training is available, and how they want to learn. Gone are the days of mandatory training sessions and sitting in a classroom listening to a speaker drone on and on for hours on end.
Employees want to take ownership in their training opportunities. The more ownership people feel about the decisions they have to make, the more engaged they will be throughout the training process.