What Managers Need To Know About Staff Training

Skills training is a vital tool for engaging staff, and retaining top talent
Skills training is a vital tool for engaging staff, and retaining top talent
Image Credit: Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

One of the biggest challenges that we face as managers is finding ways to use our manager skills to keep the members of our team satisfied with their job and not looking to jump ship and go work for someone else. One of the simplest ways that we can make this happen is by identifying training and development programs that offer advantages for team members and managers alike. They provide means for team members who are looking to keep their skills sharp, and help managers address skills gaps, while improving employee engagement and desire to stay with the company.

The Value That Training Provides

According to a recent survey, high-skills training is viewed as a very important tool for employee retention at 80 percent of the 293 organizations that responded to the survey. Moreover, 74 percent remarked that professional development programs to hone soft skills are very important to their employees, with another 44 percent seeing tuition reimbursement programs as vital for hiring and retaining top talent in the coming years.

Training and development programs take on various forms, enabling organizations to decide the formats that best fit the needs of their teams, as well as their available budgets. Certifications, internal training, external training, conferences and events were all noted in the survey as being important. And while larger organizations have bigger budgets for training and development, smaller organizations can also take advantage of low-cost courses, certifications and events to help technical staff stay current on hard and soft skills.

Being able to access cost-effective, convenient and high-quality training is a major career differentiator for team members, but it’s also a major factor in engagement levels and employee retention. Considering how important manager training is to managers, this should come as no surprise. Having a training program in place also enables organizations to upskill staff quickly — a key benefit in an era in which technologies and digital strategies are evolving rapidly. Training programs also help establish a culture of self-motivation and continuous learning.

Training At Conferences And Events

Managers need to understand the importance of event attendance when it comes to training staff, as 69 percent of respondents to the survey offer conference and event opportunities as part of their training programs. Conferences can be vital to keeping staff apprised of the latest developments in key components of an organization’s operations. Industry-specific events can also help staff better understand the needs of users, as well as the challenges similar organizations have addressed.

Internal Training

Internal training is the second most common form of training offered, according to the survey, with 58 percent of organizations offering internal training to prepare new employees and to retain experienced staff. Internal training is often focused on specific skills, vendors and platforms in use at a given company to ensure they’re being used effectively. This type of training can also help preserve institutional knowledge after a vendor implementation.

When an organization’s going to launch a new initiative or deploy a new technology, they need to be able to keep that in running order and use it to the fullest once the vendor leaves. However, it goes even beyond that technical know-how; more and more team members are now customer-facing, so they have to be given the soft skills necessary to assist end-users, also. If you can offer this kind of training to help your team members do their jobs better, you have a real benefit: someone who can teach others and troubleshoot, and who has the trust of users and that institutional knowledge.

Mentoring Programs

Mentoring programs are another popular training opportunity, with 45 percent of the survey’s respondents offering one. Setting up a mentoring program isn’t complicated or expensive, so it should appeal to organizations of all budgets and sizes. While at organizations, mentoring can help identify and maximize high-potential employees and streamline the leadership pipeline, that shouldn’t be the only focus. Successful mentoring programs also have to be about improving the community around you as a whole, not just about individuals’ achievements. Mentoring is a way to teach what and who the company is, how people can navigate within it, what its values mean for them. Mentoring can be viewed as a form of team building.

What All Of This Means For You

One of the biggest challenges that every manager faces is trying to keep the members of their team engaged and productive. At the same time managers need to work hard to ensure that the members of their teams are not starting to look for jobs at other firms. It turns out that one of the most powerful tools that managers have that they can use to make both of these things happen is training.

A survey that was conducted at multiple firms revealed that training is viewed by many firms as being a critical way to retain employees. There is no one form of training that best meets all team member’s needs. Multiple formats of training are required in order to serve everyone. Having a training program in place allows firms to quickly react to changing market needs. One of the most popular forms of training is the training that is available at conferences and events. Internal training allows a company to customize training so that new employees can learn from employees who have a great deal of experience. Mentoring programs provide firms with a way to ensure that critical information can get passed down from generation to generation.

Managers are always looking for ways to retain the team that they have been given. They can provide the members of their team with interesting assignments, but is not always enough. Team members never want to feel as though their skills are starting to fall behind. Training provides managers with an important tool that, if correctly used, can help to retain their best talent. Managers need to take the time to understand what types of training they have access to and how they can match that training with the needs of their team.

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: How much training do you think each team member should get each year?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

So just exactly how much change is there in your life right now? If you are like most of us you’d probably say that there is a lot of change going on. What this means is that there is probably a lot of change going on for your team also. What managers need to understand is that we all tend to deal with change differently. The members of your team will be a great example of this. Some will take to new things like a duck takes to water – they’ll dive in and learn all about it. However, others will push back and won’t want to change. When this happens, you are going to have to use your manager skills and get them to accept the change.