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What drives the training cycle?


What role does learning play in driving staff motivation and productivity, and do staff actually understand why they are training? Karina Ward, marketing communications manager at NETg looks at some recent research, which suggests that training is being sidelined jeopardising job satisfaction and productivity levels.

What drives the training cycle is something that is under constant scrutiny – for example is it driven by an organisation realising it has a sudden skills gap, is it implemented as part of a short-term solution or is it part of a bigger, more strategic picture? All are possible options but I would recommend that the impetus for training should ideally be born out of an organisation’s desire to increase staff motivation and productivity, and drive business performance. A company which does not offer training faces de-motivated and unhappy employees and as a result will potentially lose out to more forward-thinking competitors. It was worrying therefore to see the results of the latest NETg survey, which showed that only 18% of employees asked (from a wide range of UK organisations) possess the skills they need to carry out their current job role effectively. If employers aren’t providing staff with training in the skills they need to perform their everyday jobs, how can UK organisations really expect to be successful and match their European counterparts?

The research also demonstrated that training has become a critical factor in the workplace today for maintaining job satisfaction and employee retention rates. Nearly 40% of respondents stated that more motivational training and development would improve their happiness at work, while 24% thought regular coaching would improve the quality of their working lives. This is something employers should consider carefully. Organisations face a series of challenges today, such as downsizing and financial constraints, and as a result are continually having to re-evaluate how to make the most of their resources to remain competitive. Training and coaching are two areas that businesses tend to ignore first, but as this research has demonstrated, this can seriously jeopardise a company’s success by leading to an unskilled, unproductive, de-motivated and unhappy workforce. Employees are more challenged and pressured than ever before so the need to ensure they are happy and properly skilled has never been more urgent.

But once a decision has been made to implement a training programme, its internal marketing can determine its success or failure. And this is sometimes where organisations fall down. The research revealed that, 60% of those surveyed did not understand how their training programme tied into their company’s overall business goals. This highlights the fact that businesses aren’t matching learning to company objectives, or they’re just not communicating it efficiently. Without linking learning to business needs, there is little point in the learning in the first place since it will be difficult to measure the impact of training on business goals. And even if training is developed with business goals in mind (and let’s not forget individual goals), it is futile if employees don’t know why they are carrying out the training. For a training programme to work effectively it is vital that employees understand its impact not only on their personal development, but also on overall company development. Communication is therefore fundamental to the success of a learning programme. Staff need to understand the why, how and what behind any learning programme to reap its rewards. Internal marketing should form a part of all organisations’ learning programmes and can range from simple email alerts to workshops to incentives.

Considering the fact that workplace demands are getting tougher and hours are getting longer, making sure employees remain motivated and happy is critical if organisations want to get the most out of their workforce. Learning should play a central part in raising motivation and happiness levels at work as personal development will ensure an employee feels a valued part of an organisation no matter how big or small, and no matter what their job function is. Overall, if you can make learning a critical part of your business strategy and provide formal, individualised learning for each person, the value you will see in terms of increased productivity and drive, which will help your company perform efficiently and successfully, should be well worth the initial investment.


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