Investment in staff training can be worth every penny. It keeps your employees at the top of their game, so you stay on top of your game. But what types of training should you be investing your hard-earned cash in?
On-the-job versus off-the-job
First things first, you need to decide whether on-the-job training or off-the-job training works best for you.
On-the-job involves employees learning new skills through experience at work, while off-the-job involves taking employees away from their jobs to be trained. Both can be beneficial in their own unique ways.
For instance, staff can try out new skills in real situations during on-the-job training. After all, the constantly changing nature of business means it’s virtually impossible to learn the necessary skills from a book.
Off-the-job, on the other hand, lets workers look at a wider variety of approaches and can provide a refreshing change of scene. It can be done within your premises or externally at courses run by specialist training groups.
A major downside of the latter, however, is that it can be significantly more expensive as you have to pay for courses and lose out due to the fact that employees cannot produce any work while they’re away. It does however show that you are willing to invest both time and money in developing your staff, which is good for morale.
A great way of training staff without breaking the bank is to have some of your experienced employees mentor newer, inexperienced workers.
Pairing members of staff at opposite ends of the spectrum is a tried and tested training method that often gets results. The experienced employees impart valuable advice and guidance about what it takes to do the job, while newer recruits invariably offer a fresh way of looking at things.
You’ll need to initially invest a bit of time and money to prepare the mentor for the role, as inexperienced employees must feel comfortable going to them with any problems or questions they might have.
A buddy or shadowing system can be just as effective when it comes to integrating new members of staff.
Back to the classroom
Modern employees must have a multitude of different skills in order to be able to cope with a variety of tasks, so you’ll need to send them back to the classroom to ensure their skillsets are up to speed.
Classroom training is one of the most traditional methods of imparting new knowledge. It can either be done somewhere in your office, such as a meeting room or staff room, or at an external training centre.
This is the place to do everything from teaching new policies and techniques to updating procedures and requirements. Even managers should be expected to attend classroom training, not just general staff.
Such training is quite formal and usually takes place over a number of days.
Sometimes the best thing to do is get away from it all. Staff retreats remove all the distractions of the workplace, letting employees concentrate on learning in an environment that is much less formal.
Training in an off-site location has a number of benefits. It predominantly helps you get more stuff done, be it strategic planning or teaching new skills, plus it brings members of your workforce closer together.
The informal atmosphere fuels team building. This alone can be worth the money you pay for a retreat.
But don’t spend too long away from the office. A day or two should be the maximum time for this type of training.