When should you be offering training to your employees?
A. When they join the organization. B. When you implement a new tool or software solution. C. When an employee has been in the office for three or more years and needs a refresher to update them on new processes and solutions. D. When employees are working remotely and have additional room in their schedule.
If you guessed E. All of the above, you’d be right.
Agencies often think of training as something that needs to be prompted by a specific event—such as a new hire or the introduction of a new technology. But organizations that thrive are the ones that see training as a continual process that is integral to their mission and thus build it into their planning and budgeting. Unfortunately, many organizations and employees view training as something to do later when funds or time become available. The reality is that training is often overlooked or forgotten because of competing priorities. Increasingly, however, a comprehensive training program is essential to an agency’s success for a variety of reasons.
Shifts in the Workforce
As technology evolves, today’s public sector workforce more often requires knowledgeable and trained employees. Many parts of the public sector face significant hiring challenges. Building a comprehensive training program helps recruit and retain employees—becoming a benefit that agencies offer workers while also boosting the quality of public service.
Comprehensive training protects your agency’s investment in its employees and tools, keeping them informed and happy while helping them expand their capabilities—something today’s knowledge workers really want. As agencies see a rise in the number of millennial employees, they will be expected to offer on-demand training and more technical ways of working.
Shifts in Technology
Another argument in favor of comprehensive training is the increased digitization of the public sector. The need for continued education around specific processes and tools is increasingly critical. How do you take a worker who customarily deals with paper processes and thrust them into a digital world? Or someone who is used to desktops or mainframes and move them into cloud computing and mobile workspaces? Training can help employees overcome these hurdles.
Citizens and other stakeholders have also changed the way they interact with government, demanding changes in technology and compounding the need for standardized training. But, moving towards digitization, particularly cloud computing, increases security concerns. If there are certain processes that make your agency more secure, you want to make sure your employees thoroughly understand them. Too often, agencies invest in technology but overlook the investment in training that allows employees and stakeholders to derive the most value.
Training for Remote Work
The pandemic has highlighted gaps in training. COVID-19 has forced thousands of government workers to work from home; it’s the new norm. Agencies must alter or revamp certain work processes to accommodate remote work—requiring new tools or new configurations. This has prompted a shift to a new model for delivering training programs, encouraging investment in more remote and self-paced training models. Here is where a comprehensive training program comes into play: allowing you to make sense of the intersection between processes and tools.
Establishing a Comprehensive Training Program
Making a comprehensive plan for training may seem like a daunting prospect, but it doesn’t have to be if you take the right approach. The biggest problem with most training programs is that developers don’t have a clear idea of the problems the training is intended to fix.
The first step in designing a comprehensive program is a training needs assessment to understand what your employees require. Using that information, you can then develop learning objectives. Take a team-based approach when performing your needs assessment. Ask employees where they feel the need for training. Examine their processes and identify areas for improvement. Sit down with the agency leadership and understand the gaps they see. Once you can identify those gaps and problem areas, you can start designing a program that will address them.
You can ensure that comprehensive training takes place if you carve out a portion of the budget for it, particularly at the end of fiscal year when sometimes additional funds become available. Training allows you to invest that money into your people and your tools.
Why Train Now?
The pandemic presents a unique opportunity. While employees work from home many have the luxury of more time. Agencies can take advantage of the opportunity by help employees up-skill themselves. High-quality training can make workers more efficient—increasing productivity and compliance with regulations while decreasing costs.
It can even lead to a happier, more satisfied and engaged workforce, which in turn reduces turnover and costly new employee onboarding. Now is the time to invest in your workforce with comprehensive training that helps your agency unleash the potential of your team.
Check out Atlassian’s Jira Training Catalog and sign up today for a number of training courses, certification preparation course and more. Also listen to Atlassian’s Training Podcast featuring Services Solutions Advocate, Dan Schillace.