Which type of workplace training is right for your business? Caroline Schmidt looks at the options.
At the heart of any successful organisation are people. Improving skills and confidence in the workplace through structured professional development should be a top priority. After all, stimulated employees will establish positive ripple effects throughout the broader business.
The stumbling block encountered by many companies is to find the right training to implement. Some employees benefit best from hands-on training, while others enjoy the flexibility of online courses. With a broad range of training pathways available, it’s important that your business can identify the one that will deliver the best results for your team.
Internal workshops are often popular with large companies who have the resource to deliver them. They can form an integral component of employee development. Hosted in a familiar environment surrounded by other colleagues, this type of program allows staff to apply learning in the workplace.
Workshops may be run by senior staff or outsourced to industry experts who share their knowledge. The former offers a unique insight into the company in particular, whereas the latter can provide a valuable second industry viewpoint.
The stumbling block encountered by many companies is to find the right training to implement.
Internal workshops can offer significant savings by minimising travel expenses and avoiding traditional course fees. By completing course requirements with colleagues, a sense of team building can also be fostered. Other learning styles, such as online courses, may not encourage this.
Hosting learning activities within the workplace also provides employees with the most convenient setting to study, engage and retain information around busy schedules. To deliver the best learning experience to your team, running an internal workshop demands robust administration resources and a commitment to providing fresh, relevant content.
Unlike group meet-ups, online courses can be completed in the privacy of one’s own home, at a time that suits the individual. Also, a bonus is the one-on-one mentoring which is many reputable providers include.
With such a large number of online training institutions, it can be quite simple to find a strong course targeted to your niche industry. Conducting a little background research into the institution, the course, and feedback from past students can be a good place to start. To add the most benefit to your staff, also ensure that the certificate or accreditation is industry recognised.
Online classes can be largely self-directed, and so it is important to generate a sense of enthusiasm among students. Some organisations find that stimulating their employees to further their own learning can be difficult, which is why some prefer a more inclusive, engaged approach with a face-to-face mentor.
Often held outside of traditional work hours, such as late on a weeknight or even on weekends, these programs focus on smaller group learning through a series of structured tasks.
Students of these courses can expect personalised feedback and guidance, as well as the opportunity to network with other students at similar career stages. As the name suggests, short courses may have a duration of one year or less, with some as short as three months.
If completed regularly, short courses can be good for maintaining enthusiasm and teaching niche skills, though one short course in itself will likely not be enough for long term employees. Participation in any course demonstrates good time management and a dedication to self-improvement, but it’s important not to let study creep too far over the work-life balance.
One pitfall of internal workshops is the risk that old-fashioned practices are being passed on to the next generation, perpetuating existing problems rather than learning new solutions. Conferences combat this problem by providing widespread industry insight and networking opportunities.
Conferences are not suitable for every business. Overseas travel costs can be expensive, and niche events unique to your industry may not be a regular occurrence. It is clear that there are unique advantages to each approach, and the decision will depend on an analysis of the organisation’s resources, and the best approach for individual employees.
Each training pathway involves costs, whether this is a financial or time commitment, so it is crucial to ask employees for direct feedback, understand the structure of your workplace and support your team wherever possible.
About the author
Caroline Schmidt is a blogger for the Kangan Institute.