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OUTSOURCING - CORPORATE TRAINING PROGRAMMES OFTEN LACK SUFFICIENT PLANNING

Curing what ails them

SLOVAK managers are beginning to understand that their employees need training, but too often use training sessions to eliminate operational problems, rather than making them a regular part of the employee environment, consultants say.

Training often a knee-jerk response.
photo: Courtesy of Štúdio zážitku

SLOVAK managers are beginning to understand that their employees need training, but too often use training sessions to eliminate operational problems, rather than making them a regular part of the employee environment, consultants say.

"For example, if a company finds that its employees are not able to finish their work on time, it automatically assumes that they need training in time management, or motivation training to cure their perceived apathy and lack of motivation. However, these are often only band-aid measures that do not address the cause of the problem, which may be more complex," Anna Čermáková, executive director of KNO Slovensko, told The Slovak Spectator.

Dušan Simoník, the executive director of Štúdio zážitku - Outward Bound Slovensko, pointed out that although managers are often aware of the need to train their employees, they often neglect it for what they see as more urgent matters. "Another question is finances - the money [for training] must be earmarked in advance, and not left for a time when the company is more successful," Simoník added.

The most common mistakes made managers responsible for training employees include poor and hasty planning, unclear training goals, insufficient or wrong identification of training needs, and poor communication with training participants.

Training at companies with foreign capital in Slovakia tends to be better prepared and linked to the firm's strategic goals, said Čermáková from KNO. Training plans are usually carefully prepared for all levels of staff from administrative workers to middle management.

On the other hand, Čermáková said, training at many Slovak firms is haphazard and usually limited to a single target group identified by management as crucial to the company at the moment. The reason, she said, is not that Slovak companies are not interested in their employees' development, but that they don't have the money.

KNO emphasized that companies and training firms must work together to identify the root of the firm's problems and choose a suitable training. "Before we decide on a training we have to thoroughly analyze the needs, consider the content, extent, forms and methods of the training, set the budget, and determine if and how employees are going to use their new knowledge in practice," Čermáková said.

The issue of who trains the employees is also important. It is not always necessary to engage an external trainer, as many companies have had good experiences with internal coaching and mentoring.

The current demand for training covers all employee levels, Čermáková from KNO added, but tends to focus on sales people.

The heads of sales teams, for example, may train in sales techniques, sales psychology, management, self-motivation and communicating with more difficult clients.

Finance and IT experts are increasingly demanding training in communications, presentations, team leadership and meeting management skills.

The training of line and middle managers is more focused on communications skills, assertiveness, leadership and team building, motivation, assessing effectiveness, solving problems and project management. Training for upper and top management is aimed at individual coaching, soft skills or workshops on specific topics, as well as evaluation, career planning, and talent training.

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