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Making Time for Training

Last Modified Friday, January 10, 2014
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Time should be viewed as a resource your organization uses carefully, as with any resource.  But many organizations make the mistake of neglecting to set aside the appropriate amount of time for upgrading their most valuable resource...their people. What processes are slowing your organization down? What skills are needed to help streamline time? Insights talks to Diane Walter, author of the book Training on the Job for advice on how to pinpoint your organization’s time wasters and dramatically improve efficiency.

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Time should be viewed as a resource your organization uses carefully, as with any resource. Maybe that’s the reason many organizations make the mistake of initially neglecting to set aside the appropriate amount of time for upgrading their most valuable resource...their people. Be it a one-day seminar, an e-course, or a customized onsite training class, any training investment will take time, but it will better your organization and motivate the people working for you.

“Upfront, organizations think ‘We can’t afford to spend all this time on formal training’ but what they don’t realize is that you make up that time so many times over,” says Diane Walter, author of the book, Training on the Job. “You’ll spend a lot less time by investing in formal training rather than the old fashioned way, just hoping your staff will figure it out on their own with a user manual not designed as a training device.”

Walter says that companies can typically cut training time up to 75 percent by developing a formal training plan. “Many companies don’t have any training plans or much of an idea about what exactly their training needs are. Management has to commit to training and a certain amount of time.” So where do you start? Walter, who has served as a training consultant to small and large companies across industries, recommends these steps.

Start by identifying what the time wasters are. Survey your team and conduct team job task analysis. “The fastest and easiest way do this is to ask four or five people of mixed experience levels within a team to participate in a brainstorming session,” says Walter.

What processes are slowing your organization down?
What skills are needed to help streamline time?
What updates are required to keep current?
What are your ultimate business goals and objectives? What skills are you and your employees going to need to get there?

Additionally, says Walter, job task analysis is the best way to get employees to view training as an opportunity to get better at something rather than as an indicator of poor performance.

Organize to get a clear view of what needs to be done. Planning and time management involve looking ahead. Create a project plan to prioritize your organization’s training needs. Take into account the level of difficulty, any software implementation or upgrade plans, and frequency of team use.

How many people require training? Who needs what and when? What type of training is the right fit? Rate these criteria on a chart. Soon, you’ll be on way toward a comprehensive training implementation plan.

Pre-planning will help you budget your training, too. Walter encourages companies to include training development into the annual budget. “Research shows that companies spend about six times more in unplanned on-the-job training,” says Walter. “It’s a little bit here, a little bit there. And it’s not budgeted, time or money.”

Develop maintenance and evaluation plans. “In order to keep your employees trained and up-to-date, you need some kind of system,” says Walter who advises companies to create a training report and evaluation forms. Track who has had what training, employee qualifications and a skills matrix. Have any procedures changed? Make sure staff stays trained consistent with current business procedures.

Training doesn’t have to become a time burden to the participant, co-workers, or your customers. With careful planning, training can become an important measure in ensuring that your organization’s targets – better results, higher quality of work, fewer mistakes, reduced number of crisis situations and greater work satisfaction – are met most efficiently.

 

You can learn more about Diane Walter, her book and training approaches by visiting www.teamojt.com.

 

Please contact your Regional Service Center with any training-related questions.

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