Training and Development is Productivity

“Nimble feet” is probably the best analogy one can use to describe the challenges companies in our current technological age are facing. Most companies, particularly international companies, sale services and goods to customers not only in the US but to countries that have a growing middle-class population such as China, Nigeria and India.

The companies that are expanding both products and workforce are using innovative methods to enhance their workers’ skillsets, and enhance productivity in order to get an edge over their competitors. The biggest drivers for the success in productivity and revenue are not advertising or a great product, it is the workforce. The workforce are the people who devise the business strategies, add elements of creativity and innovation, or who work long hours on the assembly lines. You can have a fantastic product, but if you do not have talented people supporting that fantastic product you will only go so far. That is why it is vitally important for a company to have a path to success for not only their product, but their workforce. While a company may use research and development, along with marketing, to craft a lane for success of their product, a proper training and development process is vitally important for a successful workforce.

In many instances, company loyalty only goes as far as their profit margin, and employee loyalty will only go as far as a company being able to give them confidence that their services are needed, wanted and the company can fulfill their career goals. Matter of fact, according to the article, IBM the value of Training, “Employees who feel like they cannot develop in a company and fulfill their career goals are 12 times more likely to leave the company (IBM Training., 2013, p. 2).” Too many companies believe that the development of employees should be left to Subject Matter Experts of a department, who quite often have no background or education in training and development. So, what’s the deal? Why can’t an untrained SME train new employees?

When SMEs train employees and have no education or background in Training and Development, several problems are likely to occur. First, Training and Development is a discipline in itself. Understanding the neurosciences of learning, needs assessment and formulating a training model takes education and experience. I have watched SMEs, without a training background, attempt to train colleagues, customers and new employees on a subject and lose the entire room. SMEs without knowledge of training rarely create learning or goal objectives and/or can devise measurements on whether or not the learning or goal objectives have been met. In reality, they do not know how to create a “Pathway to Development” and they do not understand the nuances of learning something new. The little details that make a subject click for a person who is being introduced to something new. Not to mention the fact that some SMEs are poor communicators. A few of the excuses used by SMEs for their failure to communicate subjects coherently are:

“They are just having a hard time catching on.” OR “The subject is hard to grasp.”

Here are a few cardinal sins of Training and Development:

  • No clear learning objectives
  • No measurement to ascertain success or failure
  • Assume knowledge or a skill-set
  • Use of unknown acronyms

All of these sins are counter-productive to training. All of these mistakes lead to poorly trained employees who can have an adverse effect on productivity. This causes frustrations on the manager’s and employee’s part. The manager may wonder if they made a mistake in hiring the employee and the employee may start to feel like the success in their current job is fleeting. These employees will start to look at other companies as greener pastures.

As stated on, IBM the value of Training, “75–80% of managers believe effective training is critical to project success, skill levels linked to business value yield a 10% increase in productivity (IBM Training., 2013, p. 7)”. Then why leave training to employees who have no education in Training and Development?

For some companies, Training and Development is not a priority. They do not see the value, even as globalization forces companies to be nimble and quick on their feet. The most effective solution is to hire someone who has a background in Training and Development either as a full-time employee, or hire a consultant who can help an organization by conducting research and a needs assessment. The second viable solution for a company is to provide managers with the proper training for their team. Whichever way a company deems the prudent path, training is needed because training and development is productivity.