How often should a workplace organise staff training?

Every business leader will agree that staff training is a crucial part of workplace life, no matter what the sector.

It ensures employees are up to date with the organisation’s needs, while maintaining managerial skills and aiding personal development at all levels.

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Surprisingly, only 60% of all UK employers said they had funded or organised any training in the past 12 months, according to the government’s latest Employer Skills Survey. An average investment of £1,780 per employee was spent on training per year, down from £2,010 in 2017. The general economic downturn was one of the reasons employers were tightening the purse strings.

However, 15% of employers said their workforce had a skills gap, with at least one member of staff not being fully proficient, while 10% had vacancies caused by skills shortages. This serves to highlight the importance of regular training at work, as it benefits everyone. Reducing training because times are hard can turn out to be a false economy.

Why is staff training important?

The benefits of staff training are felt by individuals and the company in general, as it keeps everyone’s skills sharp right across the board. This can lead to a greater feeling of job satisfaction, improved morale and increased productivity at every level. Having more knowledgeable staff through training will also help employers to remain competitive, as they will be able to respond more effectively to customer demands.

Employees need a regular training schedule to make sure their skills and knowledge don’t fall behind, as this will leave them unable to carry out their duties safely and efficiently. They must be kept up to speed with best practices, industry trends, health and safety and any new regulations. This will engage employees and let them know the company cares enough to invest in their future.

Why is personal development important at work? The answer is simple: introducing development objectives at work gives employees a chance to reach their full potential. It also provides businesses with a measurable means of ensuring their training is achieving its goals, aiding the company and individuals.

How often should staff training occur?

Devising an efficient training schedule can vary, depending on several factors and there’s no one size fits all solution.

Training should take place at least once per year, according to the experts, but ideally, it should occur more frequently than this. The level and frequency may depend on the industry, the complexity of the job, or the level of employee turnover – companies who don’t organise training may find they have a higher employee turnover, as staff feel unfulfilled.

A survey by People Management found a lack of training had prompted two-thirds of employees to start looking for a new job at some point during their career. Devising an effective training schedule means considering specific needs and the requirements of the company.

Many businesses schedule training monthly, quarterly or annually, while some have training sessions more frequently for specific topics or skills. Training requirements for staff at different levels in an organisation should also be considered. For example, higher managers may need more frequent training to keep them abreast of industry and health and safety changes.

New employees or those moving to a different role usually have their first training session around three weeks after their start date. Those with more complex tasks, such as software engineering, often have a longer formal training session on a quarterly basis. If there are frequent changes in company procedures, all employees may need training once a month, regardless of their experience levels.

Research shows most companies organise some form of training once a month, with 36% of UK businesses sticking to this schedule. Around 33% of workers feel quarterly training is sufficient. More than half of all employees say they need more development opportunities to improve their skills and job satisfaction.

How should you organise training sessions?

As well as regular training sessions, employers can offer other learning opportunities all year round, such as industry seminars or conferences, webinars and online courses. Businesses can also operate a mentorship programme to keep employees motivated, building greater professional relationships at the same time. The types of training can vary, depending on the complexity of the industry, or the tasks required of individuals.

Many employers prefer to organise training sessions at external meeting rooms, as this enables attendees to escape the potential distractions of the workplace. Taking staff out of their regular working environment and spending time away from the office may enable them to immerse themselves fully in the course content and can aid effective learning. Employees can also network with colleagues in similar roles from other departments, which can benefit their personal development.

The most important task is to fully evaluate your organisation’s training needs by performing an analysis to help pinpoint any existing knowledge gaps. Then you can ascertain the most appropriate types of training and ensure a situation like this doesn’t arise in future by keeping up to speed with regular training sessions.

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