One of the most rewarding aspects of working in human resources is helping people to achieve their potential and reach their professional goals. A large part of this work involves matching employees to the right learning opportunities that not only benefit them but will enable them to achieve more in their work, which in turn, benefits the organization as well.
When staff members are thinking about educational opportunities, naturally, their focus is on how specific training or qualifications are going to contribute to their personal growth. As a human resources professional, you need to balance the advantage to the employee with the cost to the business and make sure the business is going to get its money’s worth from any investment in education.
Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities for employees to gain knowledge and qualifications that will benefit both them and their employer.
The basics of how to do the job and all the mandatory training like health and safety are normally taken care of in-house. Although it forms the foundations of every staff member’s training, in-house education isn’t normally something that either employees or employers view as being part of a broader educational agenda. There may be exceptions in certain cases, particularly in specialist businesses or larger organizations. For example, you may be able to provide an accredited entry-level computing qualification for staff.
External training takes many forms, but typically involves employees traveling to a training center or some kind of relevant central location where they take part in a course provided by expert trainers. These types of courses are much more likely to be added value forms of education, training that gives employees a better understanding of specific topics within their area of expertise, such as marketing, using social media, or communication skills.
These courses usually last for a half a day or a day, and also provide excellent networking opportunities for staff members. It’s always beneficial for people in similar roles or those who work in the same industry to be able to get together and share their experiences, both positive and negative. Staff can pick up some useful tips to take back to their workplace, and find they feel renewed motivation for their work.
When you’re looking at opportunities for staff to attend external training courses, see what the relevant professional bodies are offering, as these will be high-quality courses run by industry experts. Relevant organizations would include the professional bodies that represent workers in a specific sector, as well as organizations that specialize in a specific set of skills, so you could, for example, have access to courses on advanced communication skills run by several different providers.
Further education includes any long-term courses or studies that lead to a recognized qualification. These can be appropriate for staff who perhaps haven’t attended college, but their work shows they have an aptitude for the job. Or you might have a staff member at your organization who is ready to move into a more senior position but needs the appropriate qualification before making a move. For example, if you work for a construction company, a promising tradesman who has outstanding skills and shows managerial promise would benefit from attending a school of construction management.
Giving employees the chance to study for a diploma or degree can be life-changing for staff, and help them achieve personal and professional satisfaction. There can also be significant advantages to your organization because if you’ve invested in staff and they attain the knowledge required, they can move into managerial positions at a greatly reduced overall cost to the business compared to hiring in a new manager. Someone who has worked their way up already has an in-depth understanding of the business, saving considerable amounts of training time and expense over starting from scratch with an outsider.
Staff who are interested in undertaking long-term study may well be able to co-fund an external degree course if the benefits to the business don’t outweigh the cost of funding the course in full. Also, time is often just as precious to potential students, and allowing an employee to take time away from their job to study or attend college is just as highly valued.
When you’re engaged with helping people to decide on the right course, make sure they have the enthusiasm and commitment that it takes to keep up with the work, and that the subject and type of qualification is the one that best suits their skills and interests, and both they and the business will gain a great deal.