Human beings can be turned into human capital, which is considered the most valuable capital among other types of capitals such as physical capital and financial capital which business entities possess.
The key to turn employees into human capital is nothing other than properly designed training. Business environment is rapidly changing and requires sophisticated knowledge. In other words, the business model that worked out yesterday, will not work out tomorrow. Consequently, it has been important for senior managers to train and develop their employees, so that they will adjust to the ever changing business world.
Even though employee training lies on the hand of human resource professionals, all top level managers have to equally contribute for making the business armed with competent work force.
Training is a planned programme by a company to empower employees with job-related competencies.These competencies are comprised of knowledge and skills important for successful job performance. Proper training can create competitive advantage, resulting in higher organizational performance and employee satisfaction.
One of the problems that lies before human resource managers is about how to design training programmes and who ought to be chosen for it. Because many training programmes are costly, cost-benefits analysis is done before the programme to be implemented. In designing training projects, they have to be flexible and practical, so as to maximize the productivity.
Employees are expected to acquire new knowledge and skills, apply them on the job and share this information with other employees. When foreign training is arranged for employees, sending one or two competent persons is more cost-effective than sending many employees to the same training. What should be done is that as soon as persons who undertook foreign training return to the organization, they should be provided with an opportunity to share their new knowledge and skills with other employees in the organization.
Impact on business strategy
Training programmes ought t o be evaluated on the basis of how it contributes to achieve business strategy, not on the basis of number of programmes or amount of money spent.
Even though training should be used to meet the business strategies, some business organizations fail to achieve this. It is because of programmes that were not designed to be parallel to business strategy, some training programmes become futile. It is noteworthy that the success of training programmes chiefly depends on two factors; how they are designed and who will be chosen.
The training design process needs to be more systematic and flexible to address business needs. There is always a gap between business strategy adopted by the organization and knowledge, skills current employees possess. The sole objective of a training programme must be to bridge that gap and empower employees with skills to successfully execute the strategy. Hence, training should be prepared in accordance with business plans of that particular company. That is why, training methods can be different from organization to organization.
Whom to train?
Who will be selected for a training is very important factor, as the entire success can rely on persons selected for the training.
It is up to senior managers to carefully assess who is suitable for the training. Training may not be necessary in certain cases where employees already possess sufficient knowledge and skills.
Employee potential has t o be carefully identified, before they are selected for the programme. Those selected should be self-motivated, highly competent workers, because some de-motivated people may be lethargic to apply skills gained at training into day-to-day activities at business organization.
Meanwhile, senior managers should be more concerned on the trainer as well, as it is his approach that leads to meeting business expectations.
Implementing carefully designed training programme will accrue more competitive advantages.
The only tool the business community can use to take control of rapidly changing and unpredictable market is through employee training. Workforce e mpowered with necessary skills will undoubtedly propel the organization among other competitors, maximizing shareholders’wealth.
(The writer holds a BA in Economics from the University of Colombo)