How to keep training on the tracks

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(Beware! There is an unhealthy amount of railway puns in this article. Proceed with caution.)

One of the trickiest challenges, in any business, is training. Some dismiss its value, while others sing its praises. Our opinions haven’t been so divided since the BMW vs Mercedes shenanigans in the 90’s. Divided opinions mean that it’s a complex issue and, as we all know, a complex issue drives cost. In order to justify cost, there needs to be a substantial return on investment, which means training needs to be done right.

Find the Central Station

Tailoring a training solution to ensure return on investment is no easy task, and various factors need to be considered before training is decided upon. You might be surprised but a massive ‘bells-and-whistles’ training programme might not be your best solution. Unfortunately, training staff is – for some – not something you can throw money at to get right.

Plot your Journey

Consider the following questions:

  • Who is being considered for training?
  • Will their training help fill a skill gap?
  • Where will their ‘classroom’ be?
  • Do they need time away from work for training?
  • Are they willing to consider training after hours?
  • What will they return to once their training is completed?
  • Is the training immediately relevant to their position?

The answers to these kinds of questions will give you a fairly accurate idea of your needs, as well as the costs and repercussions before, during and after training. Short- and long-term benefits need to be weighed up against drawbacks.

Training also needs to be approached with a certain amount of discipline, not only by the trainee, but the business too. This means no interruptions! Learning does not happen in a limbo state of half-work and half-training. Remember, interrupted learning destroys your investment, and your investment is the skill and knowledge retention of a trained individual.

Bon Voyage!

For good results – beware, one last terrible railway pun ahead – everyone needs to get on board; there needs to be buy-in from both an individual and organisational level. Training is always going to carry a cost, and it’s best to approach it as a preventative measure. Pay a little bit right now, or pay more in the future.

Author: Simon Pienaar

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