To train or not to train?

You wouldn't seek the advice of a doctor with no medical qualifications, why then in other situations does it appear more acceptable to bypass training on key knowledge areas? Our Customer Training Manager, Simon George discusses in more detail.

To train or not to train?

Quick survey.

Would you feel comfortable knowing that your new car tyres had been fitted by someone who had not received any training? Would you be happy knowing the chef in the kitchen had no knowledge of food hygiene basics? Is it sensible to take a doctor’s advice if they have no medical qualifications or experience?

The results are in and, unsurprisingly, the consensus is an overwhelming “no”.

Of course, this is common sense. We expect those who work on our cars to be mechanically sound, we anticipate that chefs who cook our food are well versed in food hygiene standards, and we seek comfort in the fact that our doctors are suitably qualified.

Why then, in other situations, does it appear more acceptable to bypass training on key knowledge areas and skill sets, when common sense tells us this is not right? Additionally, even when training does occur, it is often as a result of an employee pushing for it, rather than an organisation offering it pro-actively. However, a survey by The Knowledge Base earlier this year found that 47% of those who requested training had their request denied – so even when an employee asks for training the request is turned down... Why do some employers not see the value in training?

Reasons will be varied, but common themes include:

  • It’s too expensive
  • It’s a waste of money if the employee leaves
  • Too time consuming
  • Employees don’t want training

Such opinions are largely outdated and offer a very short-term perspective, which does not lend itself well to empowering and developing the greatest asset any organisation has – its people.

The pro-training community on the other hand, believe that employees are interested in training and development and that investing in training brings a whole host of benefits which more than recoups any initial spend, financially or in terms of time.

What is the effect of a well-trained workforce?

Organisations who invest in training their people can expect to see a wide range of benefits, including:

  • Better staff retention rates - investing in your employees sends signals that you are interested in them and their development. Rather than adopting a ‘what happens if they leave’ complex, more pro-active organisations understand people are more likely to leave if they are not developed. Investing in people, and being seen to be doing so, also helps to attract the right staff in the first place.
  • Increased productivity – employees who are well trained and know what they are doing are more productive. The upfront investment in training can reap productivity rewards in the future.
  • Improved commitment – employees will often be more willing to go that extra mile, and will be more invested in a business, simply because their employer is investing in them
  • Increased empowerment – employees will feel greater equipped to make decisions on their own, thereby becoming less of a pull on management resources, and in turn freeing management up to concentrate on more strategic areas of work.
  • Greater organisational risk management – remember the untrained car mechanic, chefs and doctors we spoke of? All organisations who fail to train are taking risks. How can you expect your managers to recruit staff effectively and correctly if they do not understand the recruitment process and its associated legislation? How can your employees effectively manage their teams through organisational change if they do not understand change management? How you do ensure your organisation’s processes and people are compliant with The Equality Act if they have not had training around the legislation? Risks are everywhere.

Any old training?

Of course, training strategies have to be well thought out. The training needs to be relevant to job roles and individual development plans, and it has to add value within the organisation. The training methods and content need to be considered to ensure it is fit for the audience and its intended purpose. Training needs to be delivered in the right way, by the right people.

These are simply details which can be discussed once the initial, most important decision has been made; which is to invest in training in the first place.

What is MHR doing about it?

MHR is launching a suite of face-to-face, facilitated training workshops focusing on key people skills which will add value to individuals and organisations, available to customers and non-customers alike. The focus will be on topics such as Recruitment and Selection, Promoting Equality in the Workplace, Managing Absence Proactively, Managing through the Disciplinary Process, Effective Employee Engagement and Wellbeing, and Train the Trainer. The courses are full of theory, best practice and hands-on exercises to assist individuals in creating SMART action plans to take back to their working environment.

For further details you can contact our training team via If you're a customer of MHR, please login to Service Cloud to browse and book our training courses. Watch out for future articles that will explore the courses in more detail.