People are the heart of any organisation. To gain competitive advantage, organisations ought to support their talents in learning and development. Therefore, organisation leaders today emphasise on training. While it is important to provide employees with useful and sufficient training, organisation leaders should ensure that good training can be transformed into improved individual and business performance.
Benefits of Classroom Training
A popular method to boost employees’ skills is to send them for relevant classes or training workshops. This is also called classroom training.
Classroom training can be conducted at the company’s premise (in-house training) or at an external venue (public training). The method is efficient and cost-effective to deliver information to a group. Therefore, this method is often used to train a group of employees for the same skill sets.
Benefits of classroom training over technology-based learning include:
- Sharing of real-life experience and personal insights from trainers and peers, question and answer sessions will enrich learning experience
- Cross-fertilisation and incubation of creative ideas from peers who work in different industrial sectors
- Extending and building of own professional network is a value-add a participant can bring back to his own organisation
Challenges in Applying Acquired Knowledge and Skills from Classroom Training
Despite investing in useful and relevant training classes, oftentimes, we hear employers grumble that they observe no improvement in employees’ performance.
Good training does not always translate to application of the skills in the employees’ job. Perhaps, the internal work processes are not aligned to the best practices taught in the training? It could be challenging and time-consuming for an organisation to replace existing practices with new ones. The lack of support from supervisors and co-workers to apply the new way of doing things back in the workplace might render the training ineffective.
The next question organisation should ask is how they can step up their strategies to enhance the transfer of learning and bring about real benefits from the training provided. One solution is Workplace Learning.
Workplace Learning- Enhancing the Transfer of Learning Between Classroom Training and Job Applicability
Workplace learning, as the name suggest, refers to the learning at work. Unlike other methods of training, learning at work can happen as a daily practice.
When an employee observes his supervisor conducting a phone interview with a job candidate, he can learn from his supervisor on how to ask effective questions and assess interviewees. In such a way, learning moments occur. When an employee takes on a challenging task and manages to pick up useful knowledge from the task, another learning moment occurs. A common illustration of workplace learning method is on-the-job training- the teaching of skills and knowledge necessary for employees to perform a specific job within the workplace and work environment.
The gist of workplace learning lies in creating a learning momentum that trigger individuals to see every experience at work as a positive lesson. Having a clear intention to learn, individuals are in greater control of the events happening and can turn these events into learning opportunities.
Not only is this method effective, it adds no additional cost to training budgets, which companies are striving to keep efficient. Therefore, being able to create a culture for learning can be a competitive advantage that organisations should strive for.
Six Learning Conditions for Effective Workplace Learning
According to Institute For Adult Learning, the six different learning conditions for workplace are:
Management support for learning:
The support from management to access learning opportunities enables staff to apply better practices learnt from training into their jobs, and improve the existing methods. Being open and flexible with new processes allow companies to keep up with new and better programs.
It is crucial to conduct regular check-ins on their progress and provide constructive feedback for them to learn and improve. Positive feedback does wonders in engaging employees and rewarding them for the efforts they made. Supervisors can provide more coaching sessions and set relevant and challenging tasks for employees to practice their skills
Spot reward can be a great way to boost employees’ morale and productivity. According to Human Resources Term, Spot Rewards are essentially rewards or appreciation given to an employee for the individual’s outstanding contribution to the organisation in terms of his/her accomplishments and excellent performance or for submitting novel ideas. When employees work beyond their responsibilities, by giving rewards on the spot, a company shows appreciation for the additional contribution. As employers recognise employee’s efforts, employees will engage to work harder, improve productivity and job performance.
Disposition of learning:
A critical success factor lies in the employees’ eagerness to learn. At the recruitment and selection stage, managers ought to look for candidates with strong learning agility. This is aptly defined by CEO of Korn Ferry – “people’s willingness to grow, to learn, to have insatiable curiosity”. With enthusiastic employees who are eager to pick up new skills, a good workplace learning environment with ample opportunities and guidance, training goals and improved performance can be achieved.
After recruiting good fits for your organisation, it is beneficial to keep them motivated and open to learning. During onboarding programs, managers can emphasize to employees that they strongly encouraged employees to ask questions and clarify their doubts. Incorporating a culture of asking and learning into the workplace does wonders in generating more innovative ideas and productive methods.
The work environment, climate and culture plays an important part in supporting employees’ learning and performance. Companies can diagnose if their work environment is conducive for employees’ learning by doing surveys and collecting feedback from the staff.
A work environment that limits the exchange of information among team members may not benefit the development of teamwork and team effectiveness. Such a situation can arise due to different locality, lack of communication and management.
Nature of job and industry:
The nature of some jobs and industry does not require continuous learning. Some routine and repetitive tasks emphasis on regular practices and mastering job skills more than bringing new ideas and methods.
In summary, organisation leaders should assume a proactive role in creating a structured and sustainable plan to empower employees’ learning beyond the classroom setting. A good blend of classroom training and workplace learning enhances the individuals’ learning journey and lead to higher employees’ productivity and satisfaction. Ultimately, this translates into improved business performance and profitability.