With 43% of employees citing limited career paths as a reason for leaving businesses, training and development begins to look more important in any modern enterprise. All burgeoning businesses should be taking full accountability for training and development opportunities for their employees.
But what initiatives are available to modern businesses? Amazon and Etsy currently rank in the top five businesses for employee learning and development schemes. These companies vary drastically in their approach, from Amazon’s month-long training odyssey for new employees to Etsy’s psychology-based onboarding scheme.
It can be quite daunting to pick through the abundance of opportunities and strategies, but this article aims to highlight the top three examples of new ideas for training and development that can be practically applied to any business.
Welcoming employees to the business provides a marked opportunity to organise their place in the business model and ensure that they see the business as a life-long career choice. Orientation is typically a one-day event, consisting of welcome packages, introductions to heads of departments and a brief overview of mission statements and corporate policies.
Starting employees off on the right foot is crucial to gaining trust and ensuring they are aware of their specific roles.
Amazon takes the usually one-day event of orientation and develops this into an onboarding experience ensuring it is a wholly informative opportunity for new employees. As a company, they are fully aware of the importance of training and have allocated over £500 million to staff training alone.
Their onboarding process includes extensive and rigorous business training lasting up to a month; this ensures employees have time to acclimatise to the company environment and build their confidence before embarking on their full workload responsibilities.
In addition, alongside their onboarding process, Amazon has begun offering educational benefits to employees after their first year in the company, this includes tuition fee coverage of 95% and reimbursement for certain materials. These benefits are shrewdly based on the condition that employees are studying courses for in-demand qualifications which can aid the employees understanding of business concepts and ultimately enhance profits.
Taking Amazon as a shining example for onboarding, any business can extend the length of their orientation program to go beyond the typical office-based presentation style of orientation, this can include a more focused approach for each employee and ensuring closer guidance to allow them to establish themselves comfortably.
Companies like Amazon understand the importance of investing in employee training via education routes. Of course, this ensures a higher level of staff commitment to the company.
Soft skills can be best summarised through Dale Carnegie’s phrase: How to Win Friends and Influence People, this includes interpersonal skills, management of clients and communication. These may sound vague and abstract, but a major misjudgement most companies make is the overlooking of soft skills in favour of hard skills e.g., degrees and qualifications, although several studies show that soft skill development increases a company’s ROI.
Issues faced in a lot of companies are the lack of soft skills in management positions. As most jobs require an exemplary short term-performance demonstration via a job interview there is little time to gain the scope of a candidate's abilities with regards to customer care, empathy, and other related soft skills.
E-learning appears to be a convenient and efficient method in developing soft skills. Through platforms such as B-Talent, businesses pay a single flat rate for access to all courses ranging from resilience to communication programs. These can be accessed by employees through the company’s proprietary software including an app on Apple and the Google Play Store.
Etsy is a company that promises employees: “innovative learning formats with evidence-based leadership practices.” Their focus is on facilitating courses through adult learning theory, sociology, and psychology-based approaches to aid employees with interpersonal skills in their day-to-day activities.
Etsy is a company devoted to business development through the implementation of social science-based courses that extoll soft skills above all else. It is exceptionally easy with current platforms such as B-Talent or Learnlight to sign employees who may require extra work on their less tangible yet highly important soft skills.
When it comes to new ideas for training and development it becomes difficult to ignore the use of virtual reality. A cost-effective and less hazardous way to train, it is becoming popular in industries such as healthcare and construction where risks to employees and patients are potentially high in the actual workplace.
Employing panoramic technology with headsets, people can speak to trainers and walk around in this virtual training ground with simulated training tools and situations. This allows for the practice of emergency protocols and disaster training which would be too costly and impractical otherwise.
Examples in the healthcare industry include surgeons honing their skills on difficult procedures, ensuring they are more confident in their roles and minimising negligence claims. In addition, paramedics can practice in simulated, high-pressure situations where each decision is key to saving a patient’s life.
Although risks are mitigated with regards to life-threatening situations, it’s still important to consider employee health and safety when using this technology. It is recommended that breaks are taken between fifteen to thirty minutes of use, so when planning training sessions, it’s important they are bitesize and last a maximum of twenty minutes.
While initial hardware costs can be expensive, the benefits in fast-paced industries with high-risk factors are immediately obvious. Adopting innovative training programs may be the difference between failure and success for companies in the future.
There are a variety of ways to approach training and development ideas within the Bromley Borough, yet the crux of the matter is that training should be a priority and not a luxury to businesses. Whether it’s using the latest virtual reality technology to guide employees through dangerous situations or choosing to bolster soft skill sets in customer care, a planned and methodical approach to training and development will see a business into the future.
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