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Ian Ferguson: A Training Foundation Still Effective Today

LAST week we began refocusing attention on new forms of training. For the approach we take in enhancing the skills of our employees is crucial to the success of our business.

While we emphasised the future of training, as we journey to becoming a world-class nation and tourism destination, we must not neglect a foundation that still proves effective when delivered with precision and consistency.

There are many strong reasons for why we train employees, given that it enhances productivity, boosts staff morale and strengthens the corporate brand. No one who has been in business for more than a day rejects the truth of these claims.

The average business person hopes to employ team members already equipped with the required skill levels, meaning they need minimal to little training within the first few months (outside of the standard orientation experience). Thereafter, the successful businessperson or human resource professional must focus on talent development strategies for their employees if they are to remain engaged, productive, efficient and loyal.

• Here are a few of the tried and tested forms of training that remain relevant today:

  • Cross Training - For the purpose of improving performance, building capacity and forging strong mentorship bonds, companies have used this powerful training tool for many years. It involves allowing employees to shadow 'champions' in other areas of the business, thus providing for skills transfer.

This works as a succession planning tool, or to ensure that no one employee monopolises knowledge in a particular area.

  • Immersion Training - The skills to successfully advance a business often lie outside it. Many successful companies have created opportunities where employees work on special projects, or go on sabbaticals in other companies and agencies, to acquire new skills and competencies that will grow their base business.

  • E-Learning - Research shows that more than three-quarters of training and learning happens online. To not engage technology in staff training today is both unwise and corporate suicide. Webinars, e-training programmes and online seminars are happening all day every day (in many cases, free of charge) in the global arena. The astute company looking to grow the talent and business takes full advantage of these learning options.

  • Standard formal soft skill training - There are strong arguments for the promotion of basic face-to face classroom instruction, where the expert takes the learner through procedural and discovery steps towards a measured destination.

Using all the learning modalities, skilled trainers have the ability to do what a virtual host or unskilled expert cannot. The joy of interacting in a live classroom cannot, and should not, be traded in every instance.

Make 2018 the year of training in your company. We have certainly given you enough food for thought over these past two weeks.

• NB: Ian R. Ferguson is a talent management and organisational development consultant, having completed graduate studies with regional and international universities. He has served organsations, both locally and globally, providing relevant solutions to their business growth and development issues. He may be contacted at tcconsultants@coralwave.com

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