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Is training still a vital effort today?

By jmottl ·
With budget cuts and staff reductions I'm assuming training is a casualty of today's times -- is that your viewpoint, or have you worked to make sure that training efforts weren't impacted by budgets and staffing issues....
Judy Mottl
CIO Community Editor

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Training is still vital

by James R Linn In reply to Is training still a vital ...

We still budget the same number of training days per employee, but at the same time we also look for cost effective ways to deliver that training.

We bring instructors in house, instead of sending people offsite, look at lunch and learns, hold short seminars and discussions.

Cutting training is a good way to lower employee satisfaction which leads to higher staff turnover. Its not cost effective in the long run.

James

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D-I-Y Training

by generalist In reply to Is training still a vital ...

In many cases you have to go to Do-It-Yourself training, especially if you are with a small company that is having problems. And if you need to add skills to make you more employable, D-I-Y is also the safest technique because you can do it at home.

One way to keep costs down is to check the 'reduced price' sections of book and computer stores. You can often find relatively recent books on hot topics for 10% to 25% of their original cost. While they may not have up-to-the-last nanosecond information, they can give you a good background in what is out there.

Once you have this background information down, adding the new-and-improved stuff is relatively easy.

You can also check a lot of web sites for current information, especially those run by colleges and universities.

D-I-Y does take a little discipline though.

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Little to no reduction

by Prefbid II In reply to Is training still a vital ...

I see very little change in the way training is being conducted here. We have a lot of it going on all the time. Most of it is not directed at IT training per se, although there seems to be a good bit of that too.

HR seems to have a good amountof leadership and management training going. We have a solid IS University training going for new programmers. And we have a great system familiarization training for new people who are not programmers.

I wish the other budgets in our company were as sacred as the training budget.

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Training is an investment

by road-dog In reply to Is training still a vital ...

With restricted training budgets, there are a couple of filters that management should use to direct funding to the proper employees.

Personally, I think that too many employees see training as a paid vacation. When they come back, they have no more ability than when they left.

I advised a manager once to have employees' courseware and NOTES be "shop property" for 90 days after the class. The employee can also be asked to give a short presentation to the department upon return to give some highlights on the material covered. This helps in cross pollination of learning, increases presentation skills, and keeps the person "on their toes" while away in class.

When a team member comes back with no notes and cannot answer questions that were covered in the class, why send him out again and have no ROI?

I also had this manager buy about $1,500 worth of books for the department. If an employee has not bothered acessing the library, they do not attend training. This is a simple and effective way of sorting the "cert hounds" from the hard chargers at training time. Expect employees to invest their own time before investing training budget.

Invest training budget wisely, and it will go farther and maintain morale for your higher performers. Invest in those who will gain the most and repay the company in skillset.

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cost of training

by maxwell edison In reply to Is training still a vital ...

Considering the constant changes in all forms of technology and the applications of that technology, training is as inevitable as any other cost of doing business.

The only consideration is this:

Do you want to incur the cost of training, or do you want to suffer the cost of not training?

Maxwell

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What's the best approach to support it?

by jmottl In reply to cost of training

I worked at a company that made training mandatory in a way - they tied it to pay raises and future advancements. They allocated a set amount for each quarter and employees were responsible to selecting and attending the training. Those who didn't were penalized...is that a good way -- have you seen a better way for corporations to encourage training?

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Force feeding training

by Prefbid II In reply to What's the best approach ...

If training is worthwhile you should not have to force anyone to attend. What I have seen in some past companies is a tendancy to "pool" the training money and then try to "equalize" the training by bringing in some training company to give some block of people the same mandatory training. Granted, some people have to be yanked from their desk to attend training (i.e., "I have too much to do to waste my time going to some rinky-dink training program."). However, many of these mass instructional opportunities are a waste of money.

I have sat through hours of training on some of the dumbest subjects -- all in the name of improving the workplace. The training was "mandatory" -- which is now a synonym for "boring and useless". I havealso been told to attend training "because the company has to have 10 people attend to show that we did not waste our money" just to sit through a three day class that I could have taught. Fortunately, I don't work in those types of environments now.

For training to be effective, it has to be relevant, useful, and focused to the needs of the individual. That usually means that it won't be cheap and you should not expect too many volume discounts.

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Unusual circumstances in IT?

by generalist In reply to What's the best approach ...

In some professions mandatory training is a requirement to maintain one's license. I believe that CPA's fall into this category.

Unfortunately there are areas in the IT world where you need the training to stay current but you can't get the company to spring it for a variety of reasons. I suspect that if you work for a small IT shop, training is something that you do on your own. Large IT shops, on the other hand, might have cost savings in both volume and hiring/retention expenses.

Personally I would love to work for a company that had 'mandatory' training. But I suspect that such companies are somewhat unusual.

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empower the employee

by maxwell edison In reply to What's the best approach ...

I agree with Prefbid II concerning “forced” training. The extent of one’s efforts – or lack thereof – should be addressed at review time. Moreover, whether or not a person can “keep up” with technology’s changes – and how each company implements those changes - should be the only relevant factor, not how or when it was done. For some, a structured session is the best approach. While for others, uninterrupted and isolated time with a book in front of a terminal works the best. A company shouldn’t determine the approach, but only the desired outcome.

The key is to find good people, give them the challenge at hand, and let them decide how to achieve it. Not only is that approachmore successful for the company, but it’s more fulfilling for the employee. (I know - Some people like to be “hand-held” from start to finish. But I would prefer to not accommodate them.)

The bottom line is to define clear and concise desired outcomes, and subsequently make training resources available. Let your people decide how, when and what they need.

Maxwell

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Silly question!!

by jholloway In reply to Is training still a vital ...

Yes! Computing is changing at a rapid rate. Training is essential that workers are kept up to date with the latest technology that benefits their particular job.

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