The Pros and Cons of Workplace Training

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The Pros and Cons of Workplace Training

Workplace training is used to some degree in every organisation. At the induction stage, new employees are usually brought up to speed about company policies, common work practices, the types of technology being used and work health and safety.

There may be a designated trainer within a company, someone who is responsible for training up new employees, or conducting training in a specialised area. Apprentices and interns spend the entire duration of their employment contracts learning the tricks of the trade, developing new skills, and expanding their knowledge base under the guidance of a mentor who monitors and evaluates their learning progress.

In other cases, a qualified trainer might be outsourced whose signature speciality is to train up staff to reach their peak of job fitness, so that they can do the job at hand with the utmost proficiency and provide optimum results for the company.

Some employers take it even further, by offering professional development and training, not just to make the most out of their employees, but to grow a team of loyal, committed and productive staff who will hold out for the long haul.

The tendency for many corporate entities in 2015 is largely focused on attracting and retaining the top talent by presenting an alluring company image. Additional training and education is of direct benefit to an ambitious employee who can take advantage of improving their career prospects at no extra charge, while the employer’s reputation is well received by past, current and future employees.

Training can occur both on and off the job for a variety of reasons. Short courses taking place outside of work may be a prerequisite in some industry sectors, such as healthcare and education, to verify that specific skills are being maintained and remain current. For example, somebody working as a Disability Worker or an Early Childhood Teacher must be proficient in First Aid, which requires reassessment on a regular basis to fulfil legislative requirements and protect patients or students at risk in case of an emergency.

On the contrary, optional training can be arranged to prime promising employees for a better position within the company. Somebody working in a warehouse, for instance, could be offered an opportunity to upskill by getting a fork lift licence. This would involve a combination of on-the-job supervised fork lift practice, theory-based study conducted in the employee’s own time, along with an actual training course and exam.

Knowledge is power. The more education that an employee is afforded by an employer, the more aware he or she will be, not just about the role they’ve been assigned to do, but in a broader sense, being informed about industry regulations, standards and trends.

Skills shortages across the nation and around the globe also factor in the decision-making process of whether it’s more viable to train up existing staff members into hard-to-fill positions and reduce recruitment difficulties and their associated costs.

The 2014 Global Talent Shortage Survey undertaken by ManpowerGroup, which surveyed 37,000 employers in 42 countries (including 1,500 from Australia), reveals that:

  • 36% of global employers experience difficulty finding enough skilled applicants to fill open job vacancies, over 50% report a negative knock-on effect in their ability to satisfy client demands and 40% notice a decrease in their overall competitiveness and productivity levels.
  • As a result, almost 50% are implementing professional training solutions for existing employees, or turning to new methods of recruitment entirely, while
  • 22% aren’t doing anything at all to tackle the growing issue of talent shortages, despite the fact that it has reached unprecedented levels since 2007.

What compounds the problem further is that, as the years go by, resources are gradually being downsized in the workforce. A smaller number of employees are now being expected to do more work in the same amount of time to compensate for the loss. Company-paid training proposes one resolution, but a multifaceted approach is often the best all-round strategy.

Let’s weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of workplace training for both employer and employee:

Advantages for the employer

  1. Helps conserve and retain highly talented employees by giving them an incentive to stay with the company.
  2. Improves productivity, enthusiasm and motivation in the workforce.
  3. Reduces staff turnover.
  4. Saves money on recruitment costs.
  5. Allows key skills to be developed, refined and improved to produce a highly qualified, skilled, experienced and up-to-date workforce.
  6. Offers an attractive employment package when recruiting new staff, particularly ambitious go-getters who want to make it to the top of the career ladder.
  7. Gives the company a competitive edge.
  8. Fosters staff loyalty, commitment and moral investment in the company.
  9. Builds lasting relationships with employees.
  10. Primes certain employees for promotion down the line.
  11. Less employee supervision required if they are trained up.
  12. Less risk and liability incurred through workplace accidents, injuries, errors and misjudgements.
  13. Ensures that legislative requirements and expected industry standards are being met.
  14. Addresses the issue of talent shortages and attracting suitable candidates for hard-to-fill roles.
  15. Everyone benefits – the employer, employee, management and the company as a whole.

Advantages for the employee

  1. Improves career prospects, salary expectations and the potential for further promotion.
  2. Improves confidence and self-esteem.
  3. Improves understanding of the job role and employer demands, so that the employee can deliver their best performance in terms of quantity and quality.
  4. Increases employee satisfaction and meets the higher expectations of employees who are willing to shop around for the best employment option.
  5. Provides an opportunity for professional development and career advancement at no extra cost, while earning money at the same time.

Disadvantages for employers and employees

  1. It can be expensive to provide training for a large group. Some expenses could be wasted if employees decide to leave the company after they have received training.
  2. Productivity levels could temporarily decrease if employees are busy studying or training.
  3. Scheduling training times can interfere with normal working hours. Allowing time off for employees to undertake further study or training, whether on or off the job, requires careful planning and organisation.
  4. Employees who don’t get offered training may feel unwanted or excluded, which can breed discontent. This can impact morale and lower performance aptitude. A training plan can’t seem like it favours some employees over others.
  5. Each employee will have strong and weak points. If everyone receives the same training, it may be completely unnecessary in some cases.
  6. Identifying the right training option and an effective trainer can be cumbersome.
  7. Will the type of training stay relevant for long, or is it a complete waste of time and money if the information soon becomes outdated?

Clearly the positives outweigh the negatives when it comes to staff training. However, the downsides must first be considered in order to create an effective training strategy. But what if there was a winning solution that could offer an even better alternative, a compromise that satisfies everyone concerned, something which could eliminate all or most of those perceived disadvantages?

What’s the alternative? The RPL Compromise

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a quick and easy assessment that analyses an individual’s existing skills, work history and previous studies (including courses taken overseas) to determine whether they are eligible to receive an accredited qualification without needing to study for it. If they meet all criteria, a qualification will be issued within weeks at a much cheaper rate than the original course cost. If not, then any gaps in their knowledge will be identified and addressed either through online, self-paced study in their free time, or during work hours. It depends on the demands of the job role.

END RESULT: The employer gets a fully trained member of staff who can carry out their work duties efficiently without any unnecessary expenses incurred or time wasted, while the employee gets a nationally recognised qualification that will enhance their resume and future career prospects.

Sounds like a win-win scenario to me, what do you think?

Why RPL?

  • No unnecessary training or repeat learning
  • No classroom study
  • Fast-track training option
  • Hundreds of nationally recognised qualifications on offer
  • Saves time and money
  • Carried out by highly qualified, reputable training providers
  • Minimal interference with work flow
  • Identifies knowledge gaps and recommends suitable gap training via online study or face-to-face tutoring
  • Endorsed by the Australian government and assessed through the established learning outcomes prescribed under the Australian Qualifications Framework

The success of a company invariably rests upon a compromise between employer and employee. An employer needs to ensure that he/she has an efficient, productive workforce that can perform all of the appropriate tasks relevant to each department, while an employee needs to feel like the work is worthwhile, that it’s leading somewhere, that they feel valued, encouraged and appreciated by the organisation. As with most things in life, you get out what you put in, so it’s important to foster a give and take environment in the workplace. It will be of benefit to all parties involved. That’s why RPL is a time and cost-effective alternative that could easily be integrated into an existing training plan, or form the primary building blocks through which training needs are assessed.

For more information about the RPL process, visit www.gqaustralia.com.au, or submit an enquiry by emailing info@gqaustralia.com.au. You can also call 133 775 if you would like to speak directly with an RPL Facilitator who can customise a personalised workplace training plan that caters for the individual needs of your organisation.

Get Qualified Australia are the country’s leading experts in all matters RPL-related, from conducting an initial free consultation and skills assessment, to selecting the right qualification, enrolling candidates and organising gap training if required. Recognise the skills of your staff, help them reach their maximum potential and work hand in hand towards a better future.

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