Why Do Organizations Need Training?

On the surface, this question seems pretty straightforward. Organizations need training to promote employee learning. Simple, right? It is a simple and concurrently superficial response to a more complex question, as business and organizational issues tend to be layered, and workforce readiness needs can be met in a multitude of ways, of which training is only one.

So often, organizations engage in workforce training to respond to a perceived urgent need. Perhaps organizational performance is on the decline. Or product defects have been identified. Or perhaps there are resource behavioral challenges that demand immediate correction to avoid legal ramifications.

In these urgent scenarios, organizational leaders often feel pressured to “do something” as an immediate response to these workplace demands. Since workforce skills or behaviors are often identified as the root cause, training becomes the ‘go-to’ strategy, following what can often be a haphazardly conducted root cause analysis to identify the problem source.

Training becomes the shot-in-the-dark remedy rather than a thoughtful, well-orchestrated business strategy. Occasionally organizations implement new systems, update processes, or introduce new products or services. These events can generate an urgency to regain organizational efficiency and sustain profitability. In these scenarios, a workforce can be significantly impacted by these changes, and leaders must identify methods to prepare their workforce to meet the challenges head-on. An organization’s workforce must adapt to these changing needs.

Social science research (Boudreau & Ramstad, 2005) suggests that there are three primary domains of organizational competitiveness: (1) finance, (2) products and services, and (3) human capital. This third human capital domain addresses human resources and resource management’s importance in organizational outcomes.

Human resource factors such as hiring, retention, and workforce readiness are vital contributors to the overall performance of an organization, and researchers agree that training is an essential component of resource management among high-performance organizations. Not only does workforce training play an integral role in measures of corporate financial performance, but also areas such as organizational leadership.<br>

On a larger scale, workforce development also contributes at the societal level to national economic success (Collins & Holton, 2004). Our world is constantly changing, and the issues impacting organizational workforces are continually evolving – aging workforces, growing environmental distress, increasing diversity within national borders, rapidly evolving technologies, and changing generational expectations of what work looks like. In our rapidly changing world, nurturing an adaptive and flexible workforce is crucial to organizational success. Why do we need to train in the workplace? Because the only constant in life is changing, and to be prepared to support that change, today’s workforce must constantly learn and develop the agility to adjust to change. Training is the engine that enables workforce evolution to keep pace with the change around us

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