Training and Productivity
Only very recently, one of my long-held dreams became realised. I’m very excited about it – you only need to ask anyone who knows me well. What’s the dream, I hear you ask. Well, I am the coach of my daughter’s netball team. A group of her school friends, all of whom are in Year Two, meet once a week before school and we take them through drills and activities that gradually build an awareness of the game, its rules and most importantly, the fun of a team sport. Stay with me, folks, I know that netball is not really related to the work place, but I’ll string it together…
The girls won’t play an actual game until next year. But we’re training them now, so that once they step out onto the court, they’re going to know the game, at least a little bit, and this is going to help them be more productive during the game. Maybe they’ll even score a few goals, but mostly we’re hoping that they will have so much fun working together that it will stick. The love of sport, of activity, the fun of playing with each other, passing and catching will stick and they’ll sign up again each year, gradually growing in confidence and ability.
So, how is this relevant to workplaces? And employees? It all comes down to training. The more training and professional development opportunities you provide for your employees, the greater their job satisfaction, and dedication, and loyalty—to you and your business.
It’s up to you, the employer, to ensure that your employees have access to the necessary training to enable them to do their job. This includes things like an employee on-boarding program, workplace mentoring, on the job training—that type of understanding that comes only from being embedded in the role—and importantly, off-the job training, which includes professional development courses, and attendance at industry or profession-centric conferences.
Sometimes, conferences can get a bad rap. Often people use terms like junket to describe a conference, especially if it’s held interstate or overseas. And maybe it is for people who choose to cruise through their career, relying on luck to get them through their annual performance reviews. However, it is important not to underestimate the benefits to both employer and employee gained from the knowledge and connections the external development opportunities like conferences provide.
Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI) highlights the many benefits to providing training programs to your employees, such as:
to improve business performance, productivity and efficiency – helping gain a competitive edge
improvement in employees' skills and knowledge for their current job role
increasing employees' generic skills – i.e. employability skills or key competencies (e.g. team work, problem solving, communication)
compliance with legal requirements
organisational development – i.e. the fostering of shared attitudes and values, change management, etc.
talent management and succession planning
employee career development
Certainly, the last point cannot be understated. Over ten years ago, when I worked full-time, before swaggering into the land of motherhood and full-time university studies, I was selected to represent my organisation at an interstate conference. I was thrilled to be chosen; it demonstrated that my employer and managers believed in me, that I had potential for success. This simple decision by my employer heightened my sense of allegiance to the organisation and instilled a deeper level of pride in my work output. At the three-day conference itself, I learnt so much about my role within the newly formed nationwide program and made lots of useful contacts while networking during the session breaks.
Once I returned from the conference and settled back into my role, the experience and deeper understanding gleaned from the three-day conference placed me in good stead to pass on this newly acquired knowledge to members of my team. This, of course, led to greater productivity from the team in general, due to an increase in competencies. The entire team reaped the benefits, and this meant that as a whole we were more than ready to do our job, and achieve the required outcomes in both a timely and professional manner.
In addition to attending the conference, I was given ample opportunities in succession planning by stepping into the Team Leader role, in a temporary manner, when my Team Leader went on annual leave, or was performing a higher duties role for the General Manager. I grew in confidence and ability, knowledge and loyalty, because my employer saw value and potential in me.
My own experience shows that training and development for staff is incredibly essential. It builds loyalty from your employees to you, your managers and the organisation. Professional development and training brings a consistency in work outputs to your business; it ensures that all team members have the background knowledge in expectations and procedures. The training you provide to your employees also keeps your business at the cutting edge of your industry, ensuring that your organisation is as a strong competitor. Importantly, it shows your employers that you support them in their career, that you believe in them and that the skills they bring are worthwhile, and worth further investment. The investment that you make in your employees pays dividends. And this will mean that you are in the position—as I will be (eventually) with my daughter’s netball team—of being able to watch your employees ‘score a few goals’ for your business.