By Michelle Benjamin, Founder and CEO, Benjamin Enterprises
The workplace today is fast-paced and dynamic, requiring rapid adaptability among its workers. To remain profitable, companies need employees to have sharp skills to help them rapidly adjust to an evolving global marketplace. Training employees to manage change is the key to a highly productive and agile workforce.
To survive in the global arena, U.S. companies must produce high-quality products and services that can compete or exceed the standards and expectations of the global market. Company core values of quality improvement require the training of its workers in problem solving, teambuilding, and quality improvement. The training on these skills is as important as the training on skills required to operate the tools and equipment in the plant. Continuous quality improvement requires a company-wide commitment that involves the entire workforce in the process changes.
To improve workforce productivity, many companies have changed their management structures to a more participatory management arrangement, such as group teams involving a manager and several employees. Cross-functional teams have emerged to increase the diversity and working relationships between several departments. Alliances have been formed through vendor and supplier groups to leverage international business opportunities. Today’s technological advances have reduced the barriers that have kept people from working together, and employees now need new social and communication skills to adapt to the changing technology. Without training in new work concepts such as problem solving, teambuilding, and quality improvement, teams will be unable to handle their new autonomy and productivity will suffer.
Today’s workforce requires the homogenous integration of several different generations. More than in previous decades, the workforce also includes more diverse people groups to include persons with disabilities, returning veterans, and foreigners.
Current staffing levels are at a record low, yet customers continue to demand superior workforce performance. An employer’s challenge is to bring the team’s skills up to the required levels of proficiency with the least disruptive impact on business operations and cost.
To add value in today’s fast-paced workplace, employees need to be trained in the following areas:
Systematic, Holistic Training Approach
Training is a company’s action plan to get its employees to be more proficient in their work by building skills, knowledge, aptitudes, and attitudes that align with the company’s core values, vision, and culture. The goal of training is to improve job performance by developing an employee’s abilities. To be effective, training should be a well-planned systematic, holistic experience. A systematized training approach should have the following steps:
Training should be continuous to improve skills level and to ensure a quality training program that keeps pace with a dynamic workplace. Advances in technology have allowed for training in workplace basics to take place on the job, in a conference room, or off-premises. These days, with the explosive growth of e-learning coursework on smart phones and tablets, supervisors can empower employees to take online training during openings in their schedules or before and after work hours.
A combination of planned training during the business week and the use of online coursework with feedback can create an effective skills training program. The training either can be provided by a committed company mentor who is expert in the skills being taught, or by company employees who have undergone a formal train-the-trainer program at a training institute. A well-crafted program should include a dedication to ongoing training as a way to reinforce the worker’s skills and as a tool to decrease employee turnover while improving confidence and satisfaction. A training program should be measured by focusing on the individual steps to a job to then track the employee’s performance. This will enable you to uncover opportunities for further improvement and product or service innovation.
With a carefully designed training program, a company can evaluate the job at hand and make immediate corrections to an employee’s actions to improve skills proficiency. Focusing on a job’s desired outcome can create opportunities for innovation and skills training. Improving job skills requires continuous training and is best received when skills-building training is provided. Engaging worker feedback to accomplish the business needs will result in increased employee motivation, enhanced skills confidence, and job satisfaction.
Michelle Benjamin is the founder and CEO of Benjamin Enterprises, a workforce solutions and training and development provider. She can be reached at 800.677.2532 or email@example.com.