By: David Burns – November 2015
Continuous learning appears to be a catchphrase for many businesses. Indeed, there are many that are now requiring their employees to consistently participate in a learning and development program in addition to their regular work routines and responsibilities. However, without a clear learning and development or training policy, you cannot direct your employees in a clear fashion how to proceed with their training. There are several questions that need to be answered while you proceed with your policy development.
What should the policy cover?
Unfortunately, this is often the place where many employers struggle. They aren’t quite sure how far in depth to go when considering the training and development of their subordinates. Every employment training policy should cover the following topics:
- Purpose: without a clear view as to the purpose of training and development in any given organisation, training itself will suffer. Employees will not be aware of why training occurs, and management will lack the means to appropriately motivate their staff to engage in training.
- System of training to be adopted: will your training be online? In a classroom setting? Distance? You must determine what system of training you will want to offer your employees in order to maximise the training opportunities in your workplace.
- Processes: for instance, do you conduct regular appraisals? Are your employees required to maintain records of their training or will your administration take care of that?
- Training and retraining of experienced staff: even experienced staff needs training and even retraining; without it, experienced staff will become complacent in habits which may not be positive ones to engage in, or may even be dangerous.
- Priorities: what priority does your organisation place on training and development? Are there specific areas that you wish to focus on for training?
- Resources: what resources will you use in order to maximise the training opportunities?
- Who is responsible? Are you going to put an in-house employee in charge of employee training, or will you invest in a consultant to come in and train your members? Will you commission a training agency to handle your training needs, or will you send one or two employees to the training conference, and then they can return to train other employees?
- Roles and responsibilities: sure, your managers may be assigning trainers, but the responsibility for training doesn’t end there. Your training policy needs to outline exactly what roles management and the training provider will each have during the training process.
- What about on the job/induction training? Every job generally has an opportunity for on the job or induction training. How will your organisation handle the training in these cases?
- Updates: you need to be able to update your training policy in order to keep current with the changing trends in industry or employment. How do you plan to keep your training policy current?
Essentially, there are three types of training systems you can use for your organisation: maintenance training, which requires you to examine the job that individuals do; strategic training, which focuses on the training that everyone (or most people) in the organisation need to do; and personal development, which focuses on individual development in order to allow them to fulfill their longterm career potential.
In short, with a concise, carefully worded training policy, you will be able to help your organisation’s employees develop a clear vision of where and how they should be trained to meet your organisational goals and objectives.
About the author:
David Burns has a long and extremely successful track record in the professional education sector encompassing both tertiary and vocational training. As a widely acknowledged subject matter expert in the field of learning and development, David now works as a freelance consultant to organisations across Australia.
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