News Article

No One-Size-Fits-All When Training a Workforce

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 13:26

The value of education programs in the workforce was put to the test during Mexico Talent Forum 2019, held at Hotel Marquis Reforma on Wednesday. During the panel “Rethinking the Role of Education and its Impact on Talent,” speakers analyzed the real benefits and costs of providing their employees continuous training programs.

“Education has been the most questioned activity in talent management, since companies are supposed to recruit people who already have the capabilities to fill a certain position,” said Lilia Ana Alfaro, Director General of Lopealfa Consultores. While the importance of continuous training is often touted as beneficial for the growth of a company, panelists questioned the real applications of providing general education courses to an entire workforce. “Offering the whole workforce a wide variety of courses is not necessarily good for the company,” said Jaime Zapata, Corporate Training Manager at Interjet.

José Antonio Quesada, Director of the Business School at ITESM, agreed and indicated that sometimes employees request courses that will benefit them personally. Businesses must analyze whether providing courses is good for the company. “Companies are evaluating the benefits of providing training courses when they do not directly benefit the company but only provide value for the employee if he wants another job. Companies must evaluate their needs in order to develop tailored program as one-size-fits-all does not exist,” said Quesada.

Another problem with company-provided training programs is that they follow an offer model instead of a demand model, explains Alfaro. “Often companies buy many different programs developed by schools and afterward select the individuals who might benefit from them. This often leads only to economic losses and no real benefits for the company.”

However, when done properly, employee training can be a real asset for businesses. “Developing specific employees with strong potential by providing them training programs tailored to their needs is much better for the company and for the employee,” said Zapata. Alfaro agreed and elaborated that companies must be highly selective regarding what courses they provide their employees. “We must switch to a demand model where we identify the areas that the company needs to improve and ask for courses that address these areas,” she said.

Eduardo Curiel, University Manager of SuKarne, also highlighted the importance of investing in the development of good leaders and pointed to a mixture of hard and soft skills as a necessary quality. Zapata agreed and said that not every individual is fit to be a manager. For that reason, companies must identify the strengths of each employee and invest in training programs that allow them to be better at their current position.

While some businesses might see training as beneficial only to the employee, when done properly it can also result in significant benefits for companies. As Zapata explained: “Training is not a necessary evil, it is fundamental for a company to reach its goals.”