Training and development function was and is still a very important tool, for enhancing the knowledge and skills of employees by providing the necessary information and instructions.
All organisations spend enormous money, time and other resources on employee training and development by creating in-house infrastructures and running the training centres throughout the year.
But is the investment really paying off? Is it worth it? Does it actually lead to better organisational performance? It’s observed that people soon revert to their old ways of doing things. Only one in four trainees feel that their learning was critical to achieving the business goals.
Training with objective of individual growth is worthy, and employees are also generally eager to acquire new knowledge and skills that help them advance in their careers. But the primary goal to make them more efficient and effective lags behind.
The main reason is the attitude, that changes during the training programme, but regresses fast to pre-training status. Even the well-trained and motivated employees don’t apply their new knowledge, when they go back to work situations, that remain entrenched in old ways of doing things.
In order to remove this lag effect, our organisation had carried out four behavioural training programmes across the organisation covering all employees within a span of two months, every alternate year, but their attitudinal change or overall improvement in customer service was hardly palpable, but rarely acknowledged.
The sole reason or barrier according to me is the “resistance to change” at all levels due to the fear of the unknown and its possible negative effects. Nobody wants to come out of the shell and forgo the present ease of doing things.
The top management thinks that the target for change is the individual, irrespective of a poorly designed and managed system that cultivates the problems of organisational behaviour and overall performance.
In my view, an organisation should come out with clear direction on strategy, mission and values with priorities unambiguously defined. An adaptive environment with team spirit and commitment has to be inculcated. A top-down or laissez-faire approach needs to be discarded.
Top management has to play a decisive role in overall coordination by opening the channels of communication to keep themselves abreast of the real problems being faced by the front-line staff, and to come out with their appropriate solutions.
Rapid technological advances in the era of globalisation have thrown a challenge to employees and management alike. This can be met effectively with a coordinated and adaptive approach only. Training is not the panacea for all ills.
I conclude with a positive quote by the French author Alexandre Dumas,
“All for one and one for all, united we stand, divided we fall.”