The aim of any training is to provide new skills or knowledge to participants so that they can apply them in their own work or to help their professional development.
From the perspective of a trainee, the goal is then to acquire new skills. From the perspective of the organization instead, there is also a strategic value.
Specifically, training can be used to open further career opportunities to the trainees. Opportunities that may become available for them in the medium-term and that would represent an interesting career development within the company, showing also a strong strategic link to talent retention.
Additional advantages of providing training are of course added efficiency and productivity + competitiveness for the unit or the whole organization, resilience as well, if your focus is organizational improvisation.
Training in practice
Training is carried out in groups, via classes or workshops usually provided by external trainers or consultants. There are some important differences on the requirements for the trainer depending on the focus.
The requirements for a hard skills trainer are expertise in the specific professional field and a sufficiently large practical experience in said field. In this case, training needs to be able to not only pass on the theory and practice of a new skill, but also to bring in his or her own experience in terms of tips and tricks to speed up learning and minimize the risk of mistakes.
This type of training has usually a shorter time focus.
For a trainer, expertise of the professional field is relevant, however proficiency of the addressed soft skill is fundamental. These are in fact less dependent on the field of work and can be applied in different areas. The trainer’s role is to be able to identify and address the nuances of the specific skills based on what he or she can read from people. Doing so in training will also be able to chance and adapt a workshop in real time to account for said nuances.
This work usually has a longer time focus, as soft skills are traditionally longer to develop and reinforce.
You can pick and choose any kind of training style you want, anything from e-learning and frontal lectures to a practical workshop focused on experiential learning. The key aspect is always how much you want to take out of it and how much work you are willing to put in.
Passive methods, for example a lecture or e-learning are relatively undemanding. You can sit there and listen to the trainer explain concepts and tools. The downside is that this training style has a low knowledge retention rate – i.e. you will forget most of it.
Active methods, a workshop for example, are much more demanding on participants, as everyone is expected to take part and put some energy in the training. On the better side, however, the amount of knowledge you would retain after a training like this is much higher than with a passive workshop.
Bottom line: if you want to get better at anything and book a training for it, put in the work, it will be worth it!