I believe that how a company trains their employees says a lot about that company’s culture and long-term success. By focusing on training, a company can ensure that anyone who comes in contact with the business, including vendors and customers, and employees, has a good experience. Continued learning is about more than just higher productivity – it is how we show we care about each employee’s personal development. While we believe that training needs to be impactful to the company, we also believe in the value of providing our employees with the opportunity to simply attend a session and step away from their day-to-day work. Employees who feel valued and who are engaged tend to think more creatively and this all leads to better ideas for the company. It’s a win/win!
Five years ago, we learned that we couldn’t just SAY we were about training, we had to BE about training. We realized the small closet that we were using for employee trainings wasn’t setting the right tone. We wanted it to be clear that we valued training, so we remodeled this space and made the environment fun and functional.
We invested in technology to teach classes and decorated the space with fun graphics that remind us all that working hard now leads to future success. We have a person on our staff dedicated to coordinating our training efforts with employees, which is key to having consistent training. We host classes monthly and provide employees with a course calendar for the upcoming month so they can sign up and attend classes that fit in with their development needs and career growth.
Our commitment to training is evident no matter who you talk to within the company. Our CEO and Executive team are involved with teaching training classes, and encourage employees to participate in activities that grow them. Having this kind of support makes learning and training a cultural norm and not just something HR asks people to participate in. While many businesses claim to have a learning culture, simply having classes isn’t enough. You have to help others feel that passion for ongoing development and learning.
We have leadership training for all new leaders at GL group. We teach them leadership fundamentals and skills. We’ve also created a 12-month leadership program, the Emergent Leader Program, that gives high potentials within our company hands-on leadership experience to help groom them for future roles and responsibilities. We offer leadership book discussions for employees and encourage our teams to participate in monthly team development.
No company is too small or too large for effective training, and it really starts at day one with a new hire. According to Accenture, 80 percent of 2016 grads expect their first employer to provide formal training while 54 percent of 2014 and 2015 grads said they actually received formal training from their first employer. Creating an experience for that new hire to feel welcomed and engaged is hard to make happen consistently, but the payoff is monumental.
AUTHOR: Lisa Whealon