Building Your Department's Performance - Barry Johnson

Employees are the heart and soul of a business. They are the people that make the profits, but in order to fulfil the profit promise, meet the future needs of the organisation, and reach their full potential, business owners must train them. After all, the employer may spend a fortune on hiring the most promising newcomers, but if not trained properly, even the most talented staff will fail to deliver. The manager is the person with his or her finger on the performance pulse of the employees in his or her care.

It’s not just about your staff attending training sessions; it’s how they are managed that makes the difference. A key part of managing people is ensuring they have the skills, knowledge, and attitudes to meet their job requirements, are prepared for any changes, and developing their latent abilities.

So here are some factors you might consider when conducting this key part of your job. Formulating the right training plan is fundamental to your success. When you come up with a training plan ensure it answers the following questions:

• What training does each of my staff need?
• What should be the mode(s) of training: off the job, on the job, coaching, online?
• How will the learned skills, knowledge, and attitudes be transferred and embedded?
• Will the training eventually be useful for the business and help it meet its goals?
• What is my role after the analysis and administration?
• How will I ensure the learning?

It’s critical to ensure a strong training programme is in place - one that employees look forward to and that is advantageous to them, you, your department, and the company. If your proposed programme doesn’t satisfy these conditions, it could be a waste of time and resources. But a worse waste is employing ineffective or inefficient staff.

Learning new things can be a challenge, so never cram everything into a single, long session or cut corners. Learning takes time. It can be physically and mentally exhausting to learn new skills all at once. What we know is that people can learn well at off the job courses and we know that what they have learned dissipates quickly if not reinforced and embedded through application on the job. People learn much on the job, but only if they are exposed to new work and supported in their learning. How will you provide that support?

The key to a skilled workforce is promoting continuous learning. In a modern business we need employees that can adapt to the ever-evolving business world by introducing them to new perspectives and skills required to tackle their changing jobs more effectively. A change may seem marginal to you, but please consider the impact on your people that change may have. Perhaps they have worked in the same way for some years or have just mastered a job that has changed yet again.

Training is more than a focus on the job each of them do. It includes the behaviours and attitudes that help them work together with their colleagues, to grow as people so that the talents they have are enhanced, and perhaps their careers may advance within the organisation.