By Heidi Bishop, Senior Consultant, EastCoast HR Group

Everyone loves a day out of the office at a training workshop. It’s a chance to get away from your desk, away from the emails or from a pesky routine to enjoy a never ending selection of delicious tea and lunch treats, along with more coffee and mints than you should consume in a week. And oh, you might also learn something.

Training should be viewed as an investment in an employee’s professional skill set that will benefit them and your business now and into the future. It should not be seen as a chore or as a bothersome imposition on achieving tasks or an empty email in box.

Where to start when looking at your training investment? Take an individual training needs analysis approach. Identify the specific skill gap or opportunity to develop your employees’ competencies further including soft skills like leadership and communication. Developing an individual training plan means you won’t be spending valuable training dollars on programmes your employees don’t need or aren’t pitched at the right level according to their experience and existing skill set.

Source the best training provider for the type of training required (technical or soft skills) taking into account the best time and place for your employee to attend based upon their workload, operational requirements and any travel involved. Hold a discussion with your employee prior to attending the training to ensure they understand why they have been nominated to attend, what you as their manager expect them to gain from the programme and to reiterate the value your business places on their professional development.

Upon their return from training resist the temptation to hold this oh so familiar conversation.

Manager: “So how was training?”

Employee: “Yeah, great. We had a nice lunch.”

Manager: “Excellent, good to hear. Now here is all the work from yesterday. Good luck.”

Instead, set aside a time to sit down with your employee to explore what they gained from the training. What was their key learning? What are the ideas/initiatives they are going to implement? Was the training of value to them. Is it of value to the business? What is their plan to implement the workshop content? What are the things they will stop, start or continue doing?

That is how you get a good return on your investment. It is a 360 degree cycle. Discuss the investment in the employee’s professional development and then post-training, explore their key learnings, encourage/coach them to implement the key concepts and monitor their progress through your regular one-on-one discussions.

EastCoast Human Resource Group through our Employee Relations Masterclass Series offers a comprehensive suite of people, leadership and Human Resources training workshops.

Our Masterclass Series half-day workshops are scheduled on a regular basis to be conveniently held here on the Sunshine Coast. Click to see our calendar for upcoming Masterclasses.