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Why training employees is a good idea

Why should I train my employees?

It is a well-known fact that many companies in South Africa today have to comply with laws and regulations if they intend to operate successfully. These companies also fall within different industries, many of which are regulated by their relevant Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs). It is a legal requirement that employees and or staff are competent in certain aspects of their particular industry. The burden of responsibility in this regard rests firmly on the shoulders of the company; for many, and yes, even for larger companies, this is proving difficult. The way to do this is through training your employees.

Why is it so challenging to train employees?

Contributing factors may include financial constraints, loss of production (due to employees attending training programmes) or even in extreme cases, company closure due to non-compliance of these requirements. Other issues that may arise because of a lack of education in employees are, being easily convinced or manipulated by 3rd parties, which may result in strikes and production loss, employees not following safety protocol, being defiant and frustrated at work, lack of good work ethic, a disregard for authority and many more.
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Imagine a person who has no concept of percentages, for example. If you were to tell him/her that their salary is increasing by 3%, which could be a substantial sum, the chance is that they will think this a tiny amount, correct?. This same person will also be far more likely to fall prey to a 3rd party convincing them to strike for a higher salary, and this could damage your company significantly.
Most companies see employing “matric graduates” as a solution to their woes, but unfortunately having a matric certificate does not mean an employee is able to work effectively, and more often than not, will require workplace training to become an asset to the company that employs them. It is a dangerous assumption to make that anyone who passed matric will be able to function correctly in the workplace. So often this has not been the case, and in many instances, these graduates cannot pass an FLC assessment and they are usually placed at the ABET level after evaluation.
The opposite also has elements of truth. In some cases, an employee may be competent and able to do his/her job, because they have spent years perfecting on-the-job skills, but without formal education, the regulating bodies will not accept the capability of such an employee as valid, and the company will be penalised

How does technological advancement affect my company?

The world of work is evolving rapidly. Artificial Intelligence, Intelligent software systems and Advanced Robotics are being implemented in industries that did not need such technology before. It creates a more significant skills deficiency in your employees and worsens the above-mentioned challenges. Especially among the older generation of employees, the challenges to adapt to new technology is more considerable, and they require support. Companies may be forgiven to think that investing in the older generations may translate into a shorter period of returns for them, but they do not take into account the high turnover rate characteristic of younger employees.

What is the solution?

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It is a fact that education increases skills, and employees with better ability is a benefit to a company. Around the world, it has been proven that education and learning lead to higher wages, an increase in job satisfaction and encourages employees to be more committed to their work, which results in raised productivity and increased economic growth.

You have employees with potential, but where should you start?

You may identify such an employee with many years of on-the-job experience and expertise and who shows great promise for further development into a supervisory or management position within the company. How would you go about developing such an employee to his/her full potential? Sending such an employee on advanced training programmes like Learnerships, for example, without first establishing whether or not this employee has the foundational workplace competence required to understand and excel, would be foolish. It is of crucial importance to assess the level of the employee or any employee you wish to uplift through education and training so that he/she can be placed at the correct level to for their abilities. Employees placed at levels that are too low, grow bored and drop out of class and employees enrolled at excessively high levels for their abilities, will become frustrated and demoralised and will similarly drop out also. Placing employees at the incorrect level of training will render the intentions of the employer (to promote and develop their employees), not only fruitless but also harmful to the morale of the employees in question, and could have detrimental effects for the company as well.

In Summary

  • Always start by assessing your candidates to establish their skills level, before making any decisions regarding your training needs.
  • Hiring academic graduates and or matriculants does not solve the problem your company faces in terms of workplace competency.
  • Developing low or lower skilled employees who have been working with you and understand your business will be of enormous benefit and will have a positive outcome in the long run.
  • Give those employees who genuinely need the training, and who will benefit most, the opportunity to train and up-skill.
  • Training your employees ensures they are committed to their work, more productive and you will gain the added benefit of a stable workforce to boot.
It is clear that there are many benefits to training your employees and that it is also in the best interest of your company. However, it cannot be expected to bear fruit overnight. It requires dedication and a concerted effort on your part to educate your employees successfully and to reap the benefits thereof in future.