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Why Do We Need Training at Work?
Do We Even Need A Training Program?
Yes! Every organization does things that are customized to fit their specific needs, which means every workplace should expect to put a formal training program into place. The depth and length of workplace training will of course vary based on the difficulty of job tasks. While some organizations may find it acceptable to depend solely on hiring highly "qualified" staff members to replace the need for a formal in-house training program, the majority of those deemed best places to work disagree with them. Why? Because retention is a complicated cascade of factors that begin and end with feeling a sense of belonging. It is never as simple as "pay them well and they will stay." Yes, pay and perks are major contributing factors in retention; however, the sense of belonging is a basic human need that requires time and effort to nurture it. Unless you are hiring robots, it is critical to remember that humans are complicated individuals. We need more than food and water being thrown our way.
So if your organization is seeing an extraordinary amount of turn-over it may be worth your while to consider how your employees perceive they are being treated. With the world's population and technology explosion it is no longer acceptable to believe that all a company has to do is pay its employees and it can expect to get super star performance in return. Americans spend a large amount of their time and energy in the workplace and no longer accept it as normal to hate their jobs. There are too many other choices available and people are no longer afraid to leave one job for a better one. The smartest organizations are capitalizing on this fact by being open-minded enough to adjust their business model around it, understanding that its staff are its most valuable resource. It takes larger investments to get larger returns.
What things contribute to keeping employees satisfied at work? There are some obvious things we all look for when selecting a job. Everyone's list will vary to some extent; however, the most common things are:
- adequate pay & benefits
- work/life balance
- schedule flexibility
- feeling like their role is worth driving to work for
- feeling needed, valued, respected
- having a place to "fit" in
Adequate training can be very empowering to employees. They feel a sense of accomplishment and that in itself is a huge confidence booster. Confident employees do better work. All of these factors work in combination to improve retention because if your company doesn't see training as a priority it sends a clear message to the staff that their roles are not worth the investment it takes to manage a solid training program. If their roles are that low on the hierarchy, how much effort will they be likely to invest while they are on the clock?
We Don't Have Time To Manage A Training Program
We have all heard this or said it ourselves, "I don't have time for training". As a full time trainer in the workplace, this is by far the most used reason for trying to get out of on the job training opportunities. I have to admit that when I hear it I am less inclined to be empathetic with busy work schedules. Why? Because it's an excuse to evade something beneficial to one's work-life balance. How so? Because anything that can assist in making one's work day a little better also serves to improve one's home life. When we leave work feeling accomplished and knowing we did our very best we feel happy. We take that happiness home with us and share it with our loved ones. On the other hand, when we leave work feeling unaccomplished, confused, or otherwise unhappy we enter our homes with that unhappiness still fresh in our heads, looming over us like a dark cloud.
How much time does it take to become a true expert at a hobby, sport, or talent? Do you ever reach a point when you're free to stop practicing and still expect to be superior at it? I know our human ego would like to tell us "yes"; however, the correct answer is "no". We are only human, after all. We need reinforcement, practice, and repetition at whatever it is we hope to excel at if we plan to maintain that expert level. Our everyday jobs are no different. OK, so not all of us have the kind of job we are willing to invest so much of ourselves into. After all, it is just work we are talking about. We only go there because we have to, right? But think about the impact work has on our personal lives. If you live in the United States like I do you probably spend more time in the workplace than you do at home (and it seems wrong!). Needless to say, how we feel at the end of our work week follows us like a shadow into our personal lives. Try as you may to keep the two worlds separate, some level of co-habitation is inevitable, even if you're not completely aware of it. Humans are social. We influence one another. Co-worker, spouse, parent, child....it makes no difference. Humans influence other humans in everything we do/say/hear/learn.
The next time you are tempted to evade a legitimate opportunity to enrich your work environment by being invited to a training opportunity, think twice before passing it up. What is the very worst thing that can happen? You learn something new? Or you reacquaint yourself with something you had forgotten you already knew? You finally get a legitimate answer to a question that your co-workers haven't been able to help you with? You learn a new tip or trick for something you've been struggling with in your job? Either way it's not likely that the training will leave you any worse off than you were before you started it.