Join Wayne Cascio for an in-depth discussion in this video Developing employees through training and career development, part of Human Resources Foundations.
- Pay is important to many people entering the workforce today, but there's something else that young people tell us is as important, if not more so, the opportunity for training and development. Why is this so? Because lifelong learning is no longer a luxury, it's a necessity. Young people can expect to have eight to 10 jobs by the time they reach their mid-30s, and they can expect to be laid off three to four times by the time they reach their mid-50s. Training and retraining is essential to maintain skills.
What is training? It's a planned program designed to improve your performance, whether you're working individually or as a member of a team. Consider just a few of the many benefits of training. Training can sharpen your technical skills, build your knowledge base, improve the ways you interact with managers, customers, and other employees, promote greater innovation, allow you to practice so you can perform at constantly high levels, and convince you that you can perform well in your career.
Let's say you're trying to learn a new skill. What does effective training look like? It incorporates five key features. Here's a brief description of each one. The first is goal setting. More than 500 studies have demonstrated goal setting's proven track record of success in improving employee performance in a variety of settings and cultures. The best training programs are crystal clear about their objectives. They allow you to set challenging goals and they supplement the ultimate goal of finishing the program with subgoals during the training.
As you clear each of these hurdles successfully, your confidence about finishing the program grows. Next is behavior modeling. You can learn a lot by observing others. We will imitate other people's actions when they lead to things we care about. For example, promotions, increased sales, or more accurate tennis serves. The model's actions serve as cues about appropriate behavior. A model is someone who's seen as competent, powerful and friendly, and has high status within an organization.
Modeling is most effective when the model is similar to you in age, gender, and race. He or she demonstrates the behaviors to be modeled clearly and in detail, and provides lots of repetitions of them. Finally, several model demonstrate the behaviors, not just one. Another key feature is meaningful material. It's easier to learn and remember material when you can relate to it. Meaningful material is rich in associations and it's therefore easily understood.
For example, if I tell you that the proper way to hold your ski poles is to keep them in front of you like you were reading a newspaper, can you relate to that? Next, practice. Practice makes perfect. Anyone learning a new skill or acquiring knowledge must have an opportunity to practice what he or she is learning. Practice and repetition helps you to refine your technique if you're learning a skill, or to store knowledge of facts in your long-term memory. And finally, there's feedback.
Feedback is essential, both for learning and to keep people motivated. The best feedback is immediate, specific, and it's something you can control. For example, your presentation will be easier to follow if you use a consistent font size. In many ways, you'll be training throughout your career. To get the most out of it, be sure than it incorporates goal setting, behavior modeling, meaningful material, practice, and feedback.
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