In today’s business world, training faces a lot of challenges and trends. Let us begin by defining training as equipping employees with the required Knowledge, Ability and Skills (KAS) to enhance and sustain their performance.
However, factors like highly volatile market, stiff competition, and imbalance in supply and demand have a huge effect on training. Current businesses survive through turbulences by having the right number of employees with the right KAS, doing the right tasks at the right time.
Training challenges and trends
Globalization has eliminated political borders and made the world a small town. Such concept forced companies to adjust their business model, expanding their presence outside home countries to benefit from cheaper labor costs, obtain needed natural resources or to benefit from economical advantages like taxes and financial benefits. As a result, talents mobility has increased as they looked for better foreign opportunities. For this, training is key in order to equip those talents with the required KAS, in order to survive and excel in the new working environment. (Masters of change, Cross-cultural communication, body language, etc.)
Mergers and acquisitions (M&A)
Due to increased competition and continuous change in customers’ behavior, the cost of service has increased. For this, M&A is one of the options companies consider in order to improve their operations. When two companies are merging, business efficiency will increase because they complement each other’s expertise and resources which reflect on the service level and quality. M&A also helps achieving cost competitiveness and economy of scale by increasing the output capacity to serve more customers with wide range of products. In addition to the above, M&A helps reduce competition by joining forces or minimizing by acquiring. Training in this case will facilitate, even though how challenging it is, such internal changes, by focusing on cultural change, technical expansion, change management and interpersonal skills.
The current dilemma the training industry face is finding the appropriate facilitator to deliver the required training. Although there are many facilitators available in the market however some of them lack specialization in certain topics, professional experience and exposure.
The customers’ available choices and options are increasing tremendously this is why customer service is critical to any organization. For this, training has to equip employees with state of the art KAS, in order to exceed customers’ expectations and ensure loyalty. Such orientation is strategic in nature, and requires the senior management commitment.
For example: Singapore has taken a strategic long-term decision to develop an innovative workforce, which can contribute actively in the development of the society. For this, it is estimated that 90% of the Singaporeans working in the public sector, are being trained.
In the same vein, a research done by the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) showed that companies that spend more than average on training had an 86% higher share holder return than companies that spend the lowest on training.
E-learning is flexible, cost effective, entertaining, and reduces work related disturbances as training could be completed after working hours at employees’ own comfort.
It is an increasingly used tool for training however it doesn’t fully replace the traditional trainer lead courses.
Reduction in training budget
From financial prospective, training is always the victim of budget cuts in tight times. Every time companies go through financial turbulence, training
budget is automatically reduced if not cut. Such action reflects the shallowness of companies’ forward thinking and weak strategic orientation. As a matter of fact, Cranfield – PricewaterhouseCoopers conducted a study in 22 countries, and found that:
- 21% of Australian companies reduced training expenditure over the past 3 years
- Managers getting more than 3 days of training per year has decreased from 67% to 49%
- Some see self-development as the individual's responsibility.
Accredited training by academic institutions
To ensure that employees are learning and benefiting from the attended training courses, companies are shifting away from traditional training courses, and moving towards accredited and certified training. This is so because such training quantifies employees’ benefits after training through testing. The source of knowledge is also authentic and reliable, where accreditation is usually done through universities. Moreover, accredited and certified training programs are of structured approach and build on focused KAS, which inspire credibility and trust. This shift adds extra burden on training because such training approaches require technical selection process and material evaluation mechanism.
In order to ensure that the implemented training is catering toward companies’ nature of operations, and aligned to its internal culture and values, companies are moving more towards in-house training which presents various benefits.
Corporate university and academy
The recent trend in training is companies establishing their employee education centers, known as corporate universities or corporate academy, like Disney University, McDonald's Hamburger University, and University of Toyota. Those centers are equipped with exceptional training and learning facilities and equipments. In fact, a survey conducted in 2005, with results published in Fortune, found that 55 percent of companies with corporate universities reported that the program has increased the performance of their businesses (Anne Field, "Corporate America's Learning Curve," Fortune Special Sections: Corporate).
For example, McDonald's Hamburger University is a good example of a successful corporate university. In 1983, the company invested $40 million to create its university, over 130,000 square foot. Since its inception, Hamburger University has graduated more than eighty thousand employees and currently graduates about five thousand restaurant managers, mid-level managers, and franchise owners each year. The curriculum, which focuses on Quality, Service, Cleanliness, and Value, is consistently recognized for its excellence. McDonald's has expanded Hamburger University worldwide with satellite campuses in Sydney, Munich, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Brazil.
Trainer & Consultant