The “learn first then work” approach is long gone. Companies now understand that investment in employee training pays off in the long run. Why is corporate training becoming a business priority? What modern educational tools and approaches are used in the international market? How to create an environment where learning and development will be the core value?
“The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else.”
– Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup
Over the past few years, personnel training and development have become one of the top priorities for companies around the world . Corporate education is becoming more valuable not only for top managers, but also for ordinary employees. Why is this happening? Nowadays technologies are actively developing and thanks to that the world around us is changing fast. For example, not so long ago CD-disks were created and a few years later they were replaced by USB-drives, which in turn were quickly substituted by cloud data storage. Even working with these simple tools requires different skills and, consequently, constant training. Similarly, in the corporate world, it is necessary to learn to keep up with the changes and new trends. Training becomes not just a pleasant bonus for employees or an additional opportunity but a necessity.
Corporate training is beneficial both for the company as a whole and for its individual employees. The ability to develop and grow within the company is an important factor when choosing an employer, especially among young professionals. This shows not only the company’s desire to develop, but also the possibility of satisfying both career and personal goals of its employees. This opportunity is an important part of the experience gained in the workplace . Thus, if a company pays attention to the training and development of its employees, it creates a positive effect on its brand and image on the market. Moreover, it provides the company with a competitive advantage .
Training and innovation
Speaking about corporate education today, we are not talking about a specific narrow function or a special department but rather about the training system within the company as a whole. This system works best if there is motivation from both ends at the same time: employees are ready and willing to develop and the management wants and can help them in this. Moreover, people can be trained not only within a certain position to deepen expertise, but also in a broader sense so that employees can try out new roles. It may seem strange if an employee changes his interests and direction every few years as he does not have enough time to become a real expert in one area. But, on the other hand, it allows employees to maintain flexibility in thinking and also makes it possible to use past experience in a new function, to apply it to a new activity. And nowadays this skill of adaptation and flexibility is perhaps even more important than deep expertise.
The initiative and innovativeness of a company are also related to the system and culture of education. Roland Deiser writes about this in the book “Designing the Smart Organization” . The various training programs and educational culture in the company generally develop the mindset of employees, provide an opportunity to share thoughts, foster the emergence of new ideas and discuss them with like-minded people.
We already have experience in bringing this idea into reality. In 2017, together with the Graduate School of Management of St. Petersburg State University, we created the project “Converge: TECHNOLOGY-DESIGN-BUSINESS” to form students’ understanding that education does not end where business starts but on the contrary continues and opens up new opportunities for its development  In our world things change so quickly that the ability to adapt to the environment and learn to cope with it are key skills that allow you to succeed and turn these changes to your advantage.
How to efficiently organise training
Even though everyone understands the importance of corporate training, it is a much more interesting question how to conduct it. Many companies offer training on every trendy topic: design thinking, leadership, working with objections, machine learning, agile. However, we all know the benefit of such training teaching the basics of business writing and making presentations. Employees are bored, there is no motivation to explore the newfangled tools, let alone apply it in practice. In addition, back in the 19th century, German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus deduced the “forgetting curve”, according to which a person forgets 75% of information after just 6 days if he is unable to apply it in practice. Hence the rather disappointing statistics – only 12% of employees apply the knowledge gained at trainings in their work , and only 25% believe that trainings increase their productivity .
Ideally, each person should be trained individually, depending on their capabilities, job needs and personal goals. And today there are ways to customize the learning process efficiently enough for each employee and for the company as a whole in order to achieve the described benefits.
Just like the company’s products, training must be flexible for its customers – employees. The content and purpose of this training should correspond to the problems that the employee faces in his work, his position, experience, knowledge and issues that he will have to solve. Also, different people perceive information differently, so combining presentation methods would be the best solution to give enough attention to everyone and work through the material from different angles. This will make the training program varied, interesting and closer to reality. The main task is to enable employees to actively apply new knowledge, to understand why and how it can help them in their work. Even with a limited budget, there are many options – online courses, thematic projects within teams, shared experience of invited experts. The main accent here is dynamism and tracking the employees’ reaction and the effectiveness of the chosen approaches. Further, depending on the goals and capabilities of the company, it is worth choosing specific solutions – workshops, webinars, business games, consultations, etc.
Training in a company cannot be defined as just courses for developing certain skills. This is part of creating an internal corporate environment and a fruitful ground for development. According to the research, it is important for employees to realize their importance for the company (94% are ready to stay in the company for a longer period, provided that the company will invest in their development). It is also important for people to establish connections within the company – to find friends with similar interests and colleagues who are ready to help with projects. Like at a school or college, learning can help form a network that will be useful within the same organization. This helps with and inspires the productive development of new ideas that can benefit the company.
We at SAMSONOWA & Partners help other companies to take a step towards corporate development by organizing business tours to Germany. Together with our partners, we show innovative and production opportunities, technologies and best practices of the most advanced companies in Berlin for Russian entrepreneurs. This has already helped many to recharge with new ideas and draw inspiration for the development of their business.
- International trends and trends in personnel training and development. 2019. Deloitte report.
- Breakthrough research on employee experience. Willis Towers Watson.
- High-Impact Learning Culture. 2010. Josh Bersin. Bersin & Associates.
- Designing the Smart Organization: How Breakthrough Corporate Learning Initiatives Drive Strategic Change and Innovation, Roland Deiser, Jossey-Bass, 2009
- 10 Statistics on Corporate Training and What They Mean for Your Company’s Future. 2020. Shift Disruptive Elearning.
- Getting more from your training programs. 2010. McKinsey Report.
- Workplace Learning Report. 2018. LinkedIn Learning.