What makes a good tech training programme?
Information & Communications Technology and Media | 19 May 2020
New technology is growing so rapidly that employee training has become a key pillar for any business which wants to remain competitive Technology training ensures that employees have the right skills to keep functioning at their most efficient level. So what makes a good tech training programme? We share some thoughts that businesses might want to consider.
Professional development and training are mutually beneficial for the employee as well as the employer. We saw in our previous article that workers in the ICT sector are keen to upskill. Indsights Research also found through our Business Sentiment Poll in 2019 that 2 in 3 companies intended to maintain their staff training budget despite the economic slowdown. This bodes well for the ICT sector in Singapore.
Ultimately, everyone benefits. Businesses get more productive, and multi-functional employees gain marketable skills and feel more engaged. By focusing on technical skills training and digital literacy, you give your company and workers a leg up in an increasingly competitive technical business environment.
Company goals and culture
Many companies, especially small businesses, hesitate to spend scarce resources on technology training. This may be due to the costs; the time employees are away, or because it may change the status quo. Businesses need to develop in a way that technology training becomes part of the company’s culture. This will ensure managers and employees stay on top of the latest trends and tools, and are able to find new and innovative ways to apply these tools to improving the business.
Additionally, while many trainings teach about how to use technology, they may not make the connection of how these tools help the worker achieve company goals. It is found that technology training programs that reinforce business goals help employees acquire the relevant skills and the training results in closer alignment with the company’s overall goals.
Return on investment (ROI)
With the copious number of training providers and courses, it can be difficult to judge if you are getting bang for your buck. One way is to measure your ROI. Technology training programs that include knowledge quizzes or certification tests present an objective method of determining the effectiveness of the training programs and the employee’s skill level.
Treat employees like customers, personalize and strive for engagement
When it comes to training and learning, it is useful to treat employees as customers. Businesses use data to drive customer engagement, new products, and more. Learning should also have this focus, by identifying meaningful and actionable learning analytics. Tools used in business such as user research, marketing and customer development should similarly be key tactics. Successful companies have learned that personalisation unlocks greater value for the user.
As technology evolves, employees need to keep up with new applications. Skills from classes five years ago will be outdated by today’s standards. As an employee, I should be able to see a road map for the development of my skills and see opportunities for growth in my company. Personalisation will increase employee engagement and interest.
Management may also want to treat learning initiatives as product launches. The most successful campaigns include broad roll-outs tied to a larger organizational goal or initiative. The broad and compelling initiatives will be a catalyst to engage employees, resulting in better usage and higher activations with learning.
So, who is responsible for driving continuous upskilling and training?
The short answer is, both the employer and employee.
Employers benefit from having highly skilled staff. A company is only as good as its employees. With the ever-evolving industries, processes, regulations and technologies, skills need to be constantly updated. It is important that employers provide their staff with the tools they need to perform and progress in their career.
According to Robert Half’s research in Feb 2019, more than 8 in 10 (84 percent) Singaporean CIOs state that IT professionals are more willing to resign if their company is unable to provide them with their requested training, compared to 3 years ago.
For businesses, training can come in many different formats and doesn’t need to cost a fortune or take up a lot of time. Some options include classroom-led courses, seminars, peer-to-peer training, mentoring programs, lunchtime learning sessions or job rotations.
Regardless of whether upskilling and training is provided formally within the company, professionals should take proactive ownership of their own learning and development. Individuals can explore post-graduate education, tap on TeSA or SkillsFuture, participate in industry conferences and keep up-to-date with industry news. Other self-directed learning includes webinars, TED talks, books, audio books and podcasts. While some training options might have a cost, there are many free learning opportunities available too. A growth mindset is key.
On the part of the employer, it is important to prioritise upskilling and recognise how it helps attract and retain talent. Ultimately, this contributes to the effectiveness, competitiveness and sustainability of the organisation.