Tales from the Corporate Frontline: Training is in the Eye of the Beholder
This article relates to the Training competency, commonly evaluated in employee surveys. It comments on the value of training to both the company and its workforce. The Training competency investigates how your employees perceive the available training opportunities and quality of training. Growing an organization's internal knowledge base is crucial to the success of any business and ensuring a growing knowledge base means investing in the training of your employees. A Gallup poll conducted in 1998 reported that eight out of 10 employees said they would be more likely to stay with their present employer if they were offered more or better training. Specifically, the questions included in this competency are written to measure the adequacy, availability, content of training, and satisfaction with the delivery of training within your organization.
This short story, Training is in the Eye of the Beholder, is part of AlphaMeasure's compilation, Tales From the Corporate Frontlines. It conveys the importance and value of corporate training programs to employees, as well as the benefits companies enjoy when they put forth the extra effort and expense and provide high-quality training programs for the workforce.
Many of my coworkers complain about a lack of employee training programs. They learn new procedures by trial and error, become irritated, and complain. After reorganization periods, many have found themselves with additional duties that they are only vaguely familiar with. After a few cursory sessions with another employee (usually outgoing, and by that I don't mean friendly) they fend for themselves, and they complain.
But there are two sides to the coin. Whenever our company launches a large-scale training project, for example, our recent customer service group sessions, they roll their eyes and moan. Oh no, that will eat up hours of our precious time. Will we be able to go to lunch? Will it infringe on break time?
The time came to enroll in the customer service sessions, and one person from each department was required to attend. Sessions would continue until all employees had completed the training. The sign up sheet went around the office like a hot potato, and ended up with me. Oh well, I was curious.
I was quite surprised. The facilitator was engaging, energetic, and funny without going overboard on perkiness. I spent 20 hours that week with strange people from other departments. Surely there was nothing I needed to learn about customer service - it was after all, my occupation and I'd never received a derogatory comment. My telephone persona was perfect.
Or so I thought. As we moved through the training exercises as a group, I discovered that my listening skills needed work, I didn't pay enough attention to detail, and I was all too willing to hand off a difficult customer to a supervisor rather than try to resolve the situation on my own. I learned to pay attention, to empathize, to really analyze a problem situation and build a plan to fix it.
A few weeks after the training session, the diploma arrived in inter office mail. My coworkers teased. I just smiled. I remembered the sessions and the effect they'd had on me, both personally and professionally.
My advice to employees: don't refuse training programs - even when you think you're an expert. You'll gain knowledge that remains with you forever.
To employers: provide as many training programs as possible - seminars, courses, online products. If your employees resist, they'll be grateful later on, and your entire company will benefit.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Measure. Report. Improve your organization with AlphaMeasure employee surveys.
Josh Greenberg is President of AlphaMeasure, Inc.
AlphaMeasure provides organizations of all sizes a powerful web based method for measuring employee satisfaction, determining employee engagement, and increasing employee retention.