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Susan M. Heathfield

Never Stop Developing Employees

By October 20, 2013

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Employee training and development slipped some during the past couple of years of economic hard times for many employers. But, hard times means that training and developing the employees you have becomes even more important.

You cannot afford to lose the competitive advantage that skilled people who continue to develop and play at the top of their game give your organization. And, the desire to continue to grow and develop skills and pursue a career path in your organization is one of the key factors in employee retention - key employee retention.

I have written about one of my preferred methods for providing training that makes a real difference in how people manage their work environment. Dave Ulrich and Norm Smallwood expand this idea and recommend how to create the best training and learning environment for adults.

I have also discussed the expectation you need to have that employees, who have participated in a training or conference event, share their new knowledge and experience with coworkers. These methods maximize the bang you get for the bucks you spend on training.

Conferences and training events and seminars are not your only opportunity to train employees. Think creatively and you will identify a myriad of alternatives. I have listed ways in which organizations can pursue training and development opportunities for their employees. Additionally, the on-the-job development opportunities are extraordinary when your focus is continuous employee development.

These opportunities for training exist both internally and externally. Advances in technology are making customized training easier and more accessible. Factors in your work environment such as the expectation for and the appreciation of learning matter, too.

Benefits such as tuition assistance and a flexible schedule may make all the difference in an employee's ability to afford college.

What Training Opportunity Have I Missed?

I have shared some of my ideas about how to make training a vital facet of your culture. I have also shared several ideas about environmental dynamics that will promote learning in your organization. What do you do in your organization - or wish that you did - that I missed? What does Human Resources do to support training and development efforts? Please share these opportunities in "comments" below.

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October 21, 2013 at 12:59 pm
(1) Steve Goodfriend says:

Thank you, Susan for your observations and straight forward advice. I network with many trainers and OD professionals that have been down-sized in recent years. I truly believe that organizations realize now that developing their employees is an investment, and necessary to retain their talent.

I often give very simple advice for managers; Ask each of your employees where they see themselves growing in the organization, and what is the training they need to be ready for that change? It may be that going back to school is what they want and need, or it could be a certificate program, or focused training course. But you don’t know until you ask.

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