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The Way I See It… Companies Must Wise up to Business Benefits of Training


Laura Kelly, International Marketing Manager of Thomson NETg explains why smart organisations build training into their strategic business plan.

For any organisation that wants to get ahead and stay ahead, staff training and development should form part of a central business function - it is no coincidence that the world's most successful companies invest heavily in strategic learning.

Employees are undoubtedly any company's most prized asset and directly impact upon overall business performance levels. For many companies, this is well recognized, and they have implemented training programmes to support, develop and strengthen their employee's skills.

However, many have not taken heed; training is often low on the agenda and can often be misguided.

If organisations desire business longevity and success, they should harness their top talent and ensure their staff undertakes customised learning programmes, which are finely tuned to both their own personal goals and those of the business.

Currently, the UK is lagging behind its European counterparts in the productivity stakes. Worrying research published by the Department of Trade and Industry shows that UK productivity levels are 20% less than our closest European competitors, France and Germany.

This gulf could widen further if businesses refuse to escalate training to the top of the corporate agenda and ensure that staff development is viewed as being intrinsically linked to business success and future performance.

There are no quick fixes. Companies need to take a long-term strategic look at themselves and ensure their development programme for staff is tightly linked into to the long-term growth strategy.

So, how can businesses ensure that training is being strategically driven?

A top-down approach is need. Training issues should not longer be solely a concern for over-burdened HR managers.

CEOs, together with senior executives must lead by example and undertake training and development themselves.

Over the past few years, there has been so much emphasis placed on developing the skills of employees that those at the top have been ignored.

Companies have instead filled short-term skills gaps or technical skills in favour of leadership, management and business acumen training which could foster business growth and long-term development.

Competition and business advantage is directly linked to the capabilities, knowledge and skills inherent in an organisation's management team and executive level training should be considered of vital strategic importance to business.

The market for executive education has many learning options - full and part-time, online, classroom-based, open and bespoke.

New solutions ensure that learning is highly tailored to the individual, that it doesn't eat into valuable work time, and most importantly, that learning is strategic.

These elements are changing the face of training, and helping fuel the opinion that there is no greater business weapon than the right learning system.

Online MBAs are currently taking the executive education market by storm. For many high level executives, learning in this way is often the best option for developing and fine-tuning key leadership and managerial skills within a hectic working schedule.

Readily accessible, high level learning isn't just a tool for ensuring that business competitiveness is maintained. It drives enthusiasm and motivation and provides leaders with a stimulus.

This often acts as an effective retention strategy for top talent as they recognise their organisation is investing in their development, providing an incentive for them to remain loyal to the company.

Investing in training for senior executives can empower, motivate and challenge them and renew their energy, excitement and loyalty towards the business.

Furthermore, you will be equipping them with the vital business skills that will help drive the business forward and maintain a competitive edge.


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