by Chuck Martin

Learning More While Working

Feb 13, 20073 mins
IT Skills

Even as organizations demand more and more performance from their employees, the additional training provided to those workers while on the job may be lacking, or in many cases not even utilized.

When it comes to the amount of additional education, learning and training (classes, resources, time, etc.) that organizations provide to their employees to perform their jobs better, half of organizations provide a high amount and the other half provide a low amount.

In addition, three-fifths say the amount of learning that people take advantage of is low, based on global survey by NFI Research.

Only 15 percent of the senior executives and managers surveyed rated the amount of additional education provided in their organization as extremely high and 10 percent rated as extremely high the amount of additional education that employees take advantage of.

“If we expect our employees to continually give top-notch performance, we must be willing to give them the tools, training and time to continually better themselves,” said one survey respondent. “If we do not, the best people (most motivated and talented) will leave to look for an organization that is willing to invest in them.”

Of course, getting the right people to the right training is crucial, otherwise an organization can end up with training only for the sake of saying it is providing training, without the accompanying benefit.

“Training sometimes is too general so that it does not address the right crowd,” said one survey respondent.

“I have 20 percent that seem to find a way to take advantage of every opportunity for education, learning and/or training,” said another respondent. “The shame is that they are only responsible for 20 percent of the output. The 80 percent who deliver day in and day out you almost have to order to go for training.”

With extended workdays along with higher expectations and demands on everyone, it can be challenging, to say the least, to take time away from work to focus on additional learning.

“Our business is moving at the speed of light,” said one manager. “Even if training were available, and it is limited at best, we wouldn’t be able to take advantage of it due to the deliverables and deadlines that we are all working toward.”

Said another: “People in the production end are offered many training and education opportunities. Those in support positions, such as information technology, have to fight for all the training they get.”

With organizations too busy to make additional education available and employees too busy to take it, there has to be some give on both sides.

“Not everybody wants to do it, but extra education and training is one of the most valuable perks a company can offer its employees,” said one survey respondent. “It’s a win-win, since it enables the employee to grow in the job and they are garnering new expertise to use at work.”

“My personal strategic plan includes a commitment to lifelong learning,” said another. “It is not just the employer’s responsibility to train its staff. Individuals should take the initiative to constantly train themselves and learn new things. For example, setting a goal to read one book per month is a cost-effective method of self-improvement.”

While additional education in the workplace can be a short-term hardship at times, it is an investment in the future for both the individual and the business.

Chuck Martin is a best-selling business book author whose latest book, SMARTS (Are We Hardwired for Success?) (AMACOM/American Management Association), was just published. He lectures around the world and can be reached at