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Training courses: useful or useless for employee development?

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Employee development through training courses

While activating in a company, employees attend several training programs, which can be general or specific in nature. Even if a training is general, specific, technical or targets soft skills development, it can be either truly helpful or insignificant for the same employees, all this depending on the future actions taken.

Trainings serve as a milestone for new developed knowledge and competencies. Once course sessions are concluded, further steps imply that employees should have the possibility to apply and practice their newly acquired skills, immediately after the training itself. The lack of practice in the actual working environment means these skills will eventually diminish and, over time, both knowledge and competencies will be strongly waned.

Nevertheless, considering the fact that new techniques, challenges and needs arise continuously with time, it is recommended to refresh employees’ attained abilities and information by having them attend similar trainings after a predefined period of time. Attending similar or even the same training courses, overtime, has the main purpose of continuously maintaining a high level of skills, needed when operating at the work place.

It is therefore recommended that employers took such aspects in regard, before proposing employees for trainings or, at least, after their attendance. Leaders within the organization must be aware if employees that are to be trained are undertaking, or will undertake, activities that require skill development within the near future, in the post-course period. Also, once the employees pass a course, their superiors should ensure that work is organized or reorganized in such a manner that they are practicing and applying what they have freshly acquired.

Despite these basic, yet strongly necessary conditions that a company has to accomplish, to ensure their employees will benefit from a long and successful training effect, there are few instances in which these conditions are thoroughly fulfilled. Poor follow-up post-attending a training course can occur due to the fact that, in many cases, employees are being trained as part of the succession management strategy. In such cases, where succession management is the foundation of a training process, once the sessions are completed, most of the participants will not have the possibility to actively and immediately operate with their newly acquired skills, given that the participants represent an alternative option, for as long as the predecessor still operates on the same position within the company. In some cases, employees are being trained as a compliance measure for extreme situations, which occur very rarely. Thus, they cannot put their instruction into practice. In other, somewhat uncommon cases, training can represent a step in the motivation and retention process. Here, employers provide training opportunities that are more related to their employees’ interests, rather than current and future responsibilities.

In circumstances where a number of trained employees represents the target, it is recommendable to balance the quantitative approach with relevant training programs for employees, which will add value to both their actual and future work.

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