Training and Development Events are Engagement Opportunities

Sharlyn Lauby, President, ITM Group
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Companies are concerned about manager burnout because they are always hiring and training new employees. It’s almost impossible for them to focus on future goals because they are so bogged down in the present. That was the message during this year’s Industry Trends in Learning panel at SilkRoad Connections Users Conference.

This cycle of constant hiring and training is keeping organizations from their growth goals. To remedy this situation, companies are focusing on training content and delivery, not administration as a way to increase employee engagement and retention.

Moderator Lyle Emmott shared the results of a SilkRoad study that indicated some of the top mechanisms for fostering employee engagement are career development, learning activities and mentoring. This information aligns with Bersin’s 2014 prediction that companies would be moving toward an integrated talent model, blending performance coaching, mentoring, social, mobile, etc. into a continuous learning environment.

A panel of SilkRoad customers shared their success stories. Here are some of the things they’re doing to change the learning environment within their companies:

  • Training must connect to organizational goals. We understand there’s a connection between training and performance. But often, it’s difficult to quantify. Several companies mentioned they are using recruiting metrics like cost per hire when selling their plan to senior leadership. One company said their cost per hire is 3x annual salary. They were able to justify their training expense because it’s cheaper than recruiting.
  • Companies are focusing their training efforts on management, quality and change. There were consistent themes in training content. Organizations are spending their resources on 1) management training particularly in the area of coaching, 2) quality standards training, and 3) change management.
  • Modular training helps the operation. Breaking training into smaller modules can benefit the operation greatly. It’s tough to have employees away for hours at a time. Modular training can also help with retention of the training content. Employees learn one thing, then immediately apply it at work.
  • Employees who demonstrate skills are not required to attend training. Instead of creating mandatory training, employees who demonstrate competence are allowed to opt-out of certain training events. We’re not talking about demonstrating competence one time. Employees need to show consistent competence. This can be a win for everyone involved.
  • Companies need to invest in the future. Several companies mentioned they were dedicating time to work with local schools and universities so young professionals get to know them, their culture, and their organization. The goal is when students graduate they will hopefully want to become employees of the company.

The panel was very frank about the importance of getting buy-in. HR professionals who are concerned the company will not buy-into their training agenda should be prepared to hold departments accountable for results. One panel member said, “If a department wants to do their own thing…let them. But hold that department accountable for customer complaints and exit interview comments related to their department.” The idea being, if a lack of training is keeping the company from accomplishing their goals, hold the department accountable for their decision – not HR.

Human resources pros today have the opportunity to make a huge impact on company performance by focusing their training efforts on engaging and retaining employees versus checking off who has completed a workshop.

Are you looking for a solution to help your learning and development efforts have a bigger impact on your organization?  Take a look at this demo video.


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