We are always reading in the press about the skills gaps which exist in our workplaces. It is therefore important to try to address these. In addition, many employees leave jobs due to a lack of development or the ability to reach the next step in their career. While this may sometimes be necessary, it is also possible that with some foresight, some of this development could be fostered in-house to enable enhanced successional arrangements.
One-off training courses still have an important part to play in up-skilling employees in particular subjects or skills. In recent years though, we have seen a welcome transformation in the delivery of these to suit the more modern workplace. No longer is it the norm to listen quietly to someone droning on for several hours with an array of PowerPoint slides, whereby the most important skill being harnessed is the ability to stay awake through utter boredom.
Now, more effective development sessions try to put learners at the centre of the event, where they should always have been. We are all different and thus, sessions need to be varied and appropriate to the subject matter, in order to be truly engaging and effective. PowerPoint can still have its place to share important facts and may appeal to some learners. However, active learning is also pursued which means that attendees will probably also have to ‘do stuff’ and may even have some pre and post session actions to perform. We have also seen the introduction of webinars and on-line development forums, to utilise technology, widen participation, share experiences and to encourage healthy debate.
However, to be truly effective in the long-term, these events should not be seen as one-off interventions but be part of a well-thought out overall company learning and development framework, which links into the wider business plan.
Not all development is a course or involves a huge amount of expenditure but sometimes it is and will. If you invest in this worthwhile area, you need to be able to know that it will have a long-term positive impact on your business and only with careful planning and understanding your learners, will this be likely to occur.