Are you able to stay relevant? Why you should care about training your team

It was during an internship for a medium-sized tech company that I was first introduced to the 70-20-10 learning model. The model is a simple representation of how learning and development should be structured in an organization – 70% of the learning through on-the-job practices, 20% through interactions with others, and 10% through actual training. Organizations swear by it, including big names like Google and Adidas (Adidas even made a YouTube video about it!). However, the 70-20-10 model is not a magic recipe for employee development like some would have you believe. Without elaborate planning, thoughtful solutions, and support at each level, the model can become a negligent cover-up for not training your employees. In fact, the model itself stems from a self-report survey of 191 successful executives. This is hardly a number representative of the range of needs that employees in an organization have. Leaving new employees to fend for themselves with only minimal training and guidance is not a viable strategy: This is equally true for both the self-assured managers as well as the fresh-out-of-school employee. Learning & Development is a young field, full of misconceptions. In my experience, one such misconception is that training is a perk, not a requirement.

Historically, this misconception may be tied to a belief that people are lazy and unmotivated to work. With carrot and stick as their most trusted tools, the employer stood tall over the employees to oversee performance and efficiency – without such tools the lazy worker would surely slack off (or so it was believed). Today, we understand that people are intrinsically motivated to achieve to the best of their abilities. As humans, we thrive when we feel competent and autonomous in what we do. So, if you want someone to perform, don’t give them a carrot, give them a book! When I first started at CAVU, I was happy to see that the management team had already incorporated this philosophy into their training. On my very first day (before I had even seen my job tasks), my supervisors gave me a comprehensive training plan to get into my new role. This attention to learning is deep rooted in CAVU. As Dave Burnham, the CEO and founder of CAVU puts it, “Leadership training starts on Day 1”- something he learned from years of experience in the US Navy.  To him, leadership and employee development go hand in hand, which is why CAVU gives its people the training and support they need.

The information age we currently live in is marked by rapid change; the ability to adapt is critical for any company to succeed.   In fact Fiona Graetz, a leading expert in organizational change, goes as far as saying:

“Against a backdrop of increasing globalisation, deregulation, the rapid pace of technological innovation, a growing knowledge workforce, and shifting social and demographic trends, few would dispute that the primary task of management today is the leadership of organisational change.”

The best practices we know, the technologies we use, and the cultures we are part of are all susceptible to the next discovery. If you cannot keep up with what is new, you will quickly find yourself becoming redundant. Learning has never been as important as it is in the 21st century; ensuring that your employees and their departments have the tools necessary to stay informed, should be a priority. CAVU International’s Leadership Pro course explains how leadership can be an important tool in defining the culture and attitudes at work. In the same way, businesses can use employee training as a tool to understand the latest trends and bring in fresh new perspectives. Training should not be a perk, but could be a key pillar for keeping a business relevant. For many businesses, the problem with training is high cost and lack of clarity regarding their return on investment. Of course, not all organizations have the means to take this leap of faith. However, for those who do, the leap is a rather safe one. Research on Learning & Development clearly displays that training your employees is healthy for both your business and your employees. For example, a review of learning & development literature since 2000 concluded that training is associated with increased well-being, satisfaction, performance, trust in the organization, and decreased turnover rate. This is even more relevant if you know that a disengaged employee can cost the organization $3400 out of every $10,000 or that the cost of replacing an employee is between 50% and 200% of their annual salary depending on the position. If a training session can convince just one person to stay a little longer, it may already have paid for itself.

New technologies are constantly changing how society works. It changes our daily practices and how we use and think about tools. Training shouldn’t just be about the information transfer. Rather, it should also seek to inspire and engage participants. This requires us to constantly adapt our learning practices with social and technological trends. CAVU International knows that training improves when it engages people, while still delivering the relevant practices. It’s about using engaging techniques and having fun while doing so. As practice-based training sessions are arguably the most effective method of team training, they always emphasize the importance of sending their coaches directly to the worksite, or to use a simulated training environment. As part of this, CAVU has partnered with RelyOn Nutec and OFFB (Operators Association for Response Management) to develop a full-scale emergency response training program called STORM, an acronym for Safety, Technical, and Operational Response Management. This program takes advantage of state-of-the-art simulations, Crew Resource Management principles and an established network of response assets to give operators an engaging and effective team training. It is generally recognized that the more accurate a training simulates the environment in which the activity is performed, the better the learning. As such, it is exciting to take this training program to new heights.

Training and Development initiatives are useful tools that any business should keep in their repertoire. According to the Association of Talent and Development, organizations spend an average of $1,250 per employee on training and development initiatives – and learning on-the-job was heavily emphasized by 2/3 of these businesses. While learning on-the-job is an essential part of understanding the working practices in any new role, it may do little more than reinforce the businesses’ own culture and pre-existing beliefs. By emphasizing 70% of a person’s learning through internal training, the business gain little external input from outside perspectives. In an increasingly specialized society, keeping up with best new practices can become an almost impossible challenge for those who isolate themselves from other’s knowledge and experiences. As such, these businesses may be vulnerable to stagnating the generation of new ideas and/or fall prey to their own groupthink.

Just like your business, a training program needs to adapt to its clients’ needs. A successful training program should engage the user and open up for new perspectives and ideas. Rarely will you find a successful training program during quick interactions next to the coffee machine, while simultaneously rushing from one job task to another. It just makes sense to spend the time and resources on training your team. When done right, it can help foster a positive working culture that will inspire and engage your team to perform, while simultaneously keeping your business up to speed with the latest trends. In other words, you’ll stay relevant and at the forefront of team growth and development by investing more. Don’t stop at 10% actual training like in the 70-20-10 model and get left behind. Rather, take the leap and trust that it will be a better experience for you and your team.

Fabian Hjelde

Over the past decade, Fabian has immersed himself in the research and best practices of human performance and organizational development. Originally from Norway, his strong affinity for psychology and cultural studies led him to do a Masters in Organizational Psychology at Vrije University in the Netherlands. He is now dedicating his knowledge and skill to safety and performance in the Norwegian Energy Sector. With a solid international background, Fabian is fluent in both English and Norwegian, and is studied in the human factors that shape an organizational culture.

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