Deciding on what employee or management training to take is not as simple as it looks. It might seem like a simple decision to pick up a catalog or surf the web for a course and sign up. Human Resources (HR) can play a pivital role in helping managers and employees select a good program.

Getting the full value of training requires some forethought – consider these factors to enhance the development opportunity.

  • Funding – Shoe string budgets will likely get the same results.
  • Time – The longer the better, retention and application of new skills and behaviors increases when delivery is over several sessions.
  • Energy – Is there excitement around the development opportunity?
  • Desire to learn – Avid learners will absorb more quickly.
  • Commitment – There are always bumps in the road. Avoid being the flavor of the month.

After clearing these hurdles, the next step is to evaluate who needs what type of training and how to reinforce it to gain longer-term results. There are different categories of training, decide the approach that aligns more closely with the skills you are trying to build.

Behavioral Skill Development helps individuals to broaden their communication and social interaction skills with other people.

Investments in these skills require a willingness to change and are not quick hits. Programs can last a few days; the more effective programs continue over a protracted timeframe utilizing interval reinforcements. Examples of group skill programs include:

  • Leadership Development
  • Change Management
  • Teamwork
  • Conflict Management
  • Influence Management

If your company is sponsoring a cultural change initiative, this program will likely be conducted in-house. Smaller groups or teams may utilize outside consultants to customize learning to meet specific group objectives.

There are varying philosophies and approaches – due diligence in choosing your outside resource will help you make a good decision and help your training to stick.

On an individual level, executive or personal coaching may be a preferred approach. The executive is able to identify and work on the changes in a more private setting.

Professional Skill Development often provides certification or accreditation for the participant.

To advance within your professional track, a series of courses can span months to several years and often with an outside agency or firm. It is common to require passing an examination to attest your knowledge.

Examples would include:

Organization Skill Development is an in-house training focusing on building skills on how to be a manager or it may include new hire employee training.

Most of these programs are developed and delivered in-house; they are often under the responsibility of the Human Resources function. If a company decides to use external resources, it is generally in the design of the program itself, leaving the on-going implementation within the organization. The best in class companies expand their in-house trainers to include line managers.

Some of these programs may be onetime events. Other programs such as manager training may be developed into several courses; beginning with new manager training , then progressing to more sophisticated management techniques as the manager develops in their role.

Examples include:

Ultimately, the manager may advance to a Leadership Development program or individual coaching program.

Legal or Compliance Skill Development is often required training from state or federal mandates or the training may be preventive in nature.

Companies have latitude in developing their own programs as long as the required information is conveyed to the employees and in the required time frame.

There are times when internal resources are scarce or the level of expertise required to conduct the training is nonexistent. In these cases, external resources are engaged to conduct the training. Examples include:

Job or Task Skill Development is basic training on the day-to-day work that you do.

Your boss or another co-worker may train you in the task or job. Job or task skill training occurs when you move into a new role or are learning a new system or process to improve work performance.

Cross-training with two individuals can be done anytime – an often overlooked, but powerful method for building internal talent.

Examples might include:

  • Learning a new computer system program
  • Conducting an experiment
  • Handing customer complaints
  • Incorporating new standard operating procedures (SOP)
  • Installing a new inspection process
  • Cross-training on accounts payables and receivables

Are you convinced yet that there is a lot to consider before making that investment in your employees or yourself? Selecting the right type of training and development and knowing you are ready to support the factors necessary for success will help the investment be worthwhile.