I hear myself and others in my industry talk about the importance of training, but why is it important and how do we ensure it is purposeful and adds value to our employees and our business.
Having spent the first 10 years working in Global Logistics learning my 'trade' through experience and handling a variety of different situations, I finally joined a company who prided themselves on training their employees, investing heavily in a global training program which I can confidently say gave me the opportunity to become a true logistics professional. Having learnt in two different ways, I can see the benefits to both, there is nothing like 'being thrown in at the deep end', to ensure you learn quickly. But do you learn the right way? Having the skills to handle an issue in a reactive manner is fantastic if you are in an urgent situation which you need to solve quickly, but should this be the only way we learn? Do we want our employees to only react to problems, or do we want to train them with the skills and strategies to manage their work proactively, with the aim of limiting the need for reactive problem solving.
I have always enjoyed the training room, as a learner I enjoyed gaining more knowledge and as a trainer I enjoyed sharing my knowledge with others and seeing the employees grow in confidence as they were given the tools to do their job professionally. In today's business world, we hear talk of KPI's and Measurement Criteria on a regular basis. As managers and employers we have an expectation of our staff; we want them to do a particular job and do it well. Sometimes we may pay our staff performance related bonuses and hold regular performance reviews with them. So ask yourself this question, do you provide your staff the correct training to complete the tasks expected of them? Do you provide a mentor to help support them and guide them through the training program? Do you have a clear and relevant development plan for each individual role and each individual person?
These questions are integral to understanding whether your training program is actually adding value to your business. If we want our employees to be the best they can be, then invest in a comprehensive training program which will encompass a number of things. Primarily the core training should cover the intricacies of the operation, the complexities of compliance to the relevant laws and governing bodies within your industry. The day to day, 'how to do the job'. This can then be used objectively within the appraisal or staff review meetings to see how the employees are performing having had all the necessary training. It is then, that any performance failings can be looked at and assessed as an individual failing and not as a training issue.
Secondly, for your training program to offer real long term benefits, look at the individual person and ask them to tell you what their three strengths and weaknesses are. Provide courses that offer them skills in such things as Negotiation Techniques, Presentation Skills, Sales and Marketing training. Establish the next generation of senior management within your company, ensuring they are not only just offered training, but they also receive personal development. This will help you to secure the future of your company and help to empower your staff to confidently work within your industry as a true professional.
I intend to write a weekly news item, sharing what is going on in the world of global logistics, or more specifically about training courses that have become available.