Our view: How training in companies is changing

Companies who offer effective training opportunities not only see higher levels of employee satisfaction and retention, but research shows these organisations also have a 218% higher income per employee than companies who don’t.

In 2018, US companies spent $90 billion – more than the GDP of 130 countries – on learning and development. [Source: HBR] By comparison, British companies spend, on average, £300 per employee on training every year.

Companies that spend more than the average report higher levels of employee satisfaction. And yet in the US, despite the investment in employee development, one in five organizations does not measure the impact of training. Of those that do, only 13% measure the quantifiable returns.

Providing effective training opportunities is key to staff recruitment and retention. 56% of British workers say they would leave their jobs if they were denied high quality training and 30% claim to have done so. 17% are looking to leave their jobs in the next two years—the second highest figure globally.

Companies who offer regular training have a 218% higher income per employee than companies who don’t. [Source: Association for Talent Development] In fact, 63% of companies with growing turnover regard leadership and management development as their top priority. Although most employees want personally tailored provisions to help achieve personal development goals, preferred training methods can depend on the seniority of the employee.

How companies train

Whilst entry level employees rely heavily on in-job training; workshops, seminars and open courses are the most frequently used training method for all levels. [Source: Findcourses.co.uk - UK L&D Report 2018]

One of the biggest barriers stopping business owners from providing staff with the opportunity to develop their skills is a lack of budget. However, with increasing pressures for mandate training – legal requirements governing how companies operate, such as GDPR or health and safety – organisations are having to be more creative around how they deliver training.

The use of digital communications tools is also affecting how companies deliver training. Instant messaging, work-based social media and collaboration platforms are all increasingly popular amongst HR and learning professionals. [Source: Deloitte Human Capital Trends Report]

Although AI and automation may be supplanting face-to-face, personal contact remains a core element of organisations’ DNA. Many look to internal training because it is the cheapest option, alleviates the need for employees to take time away from work and enables training which is relevant to the business issues their company may be facing.

Yet in-house training also creates challenges, such as providing suitable training facilities and materials. Some employees feel that balancing their work and training is a distraction. Internal training can easily become stagnant if not regularly reviewed and upgraded.

Where companies train

That’s why off-site training remains a preferred option. 43% of all external events are staged to provide education and training [Source: Eventbrite 2019 Pulse Report], so what types of venue are they using?

Many businesses opt for a hotel because they offer overnight accommodation, are conveniently located or have always been used in the past. The downsides are that amenities, such as good WiFi, and equipment, such as ceiling mounted projectors, can be limited. Hotels offer lots of distractions, breakout space is often limited, and the meetings product tends to be more generic than tailored to training requirements.

By comparison, specialist training venues tend to be of high quality, operated by specialists, have natural daylight, excellent WiFi and a wide range of onsite technology. Training rooms are purpose-designed with blinds, modern, comfortable furniture and the amenities to ensure maximum productivity.

Most city centres have plenty of made-to-measure training facilities. Training centres can also be very cost-effective, working out at around 20% cheaper than an equivalent standard of hotel. In London, etcVenues have facilities across the city, having launched their 17th UK venue in Chancery Lane in spring 2019, taking the group to 278 meeting rooms.

Training is delivered all over the UK. Amongst our customers, London sees by far the greatest proportion of training venue bookings. Birmingham comes next, followed by Milton Keynes, Swindon (serving the M4 corridor) and Manchester.

Of course, there are exceptions. One of our customers in the financial services sector books 87% of their training requirement outside London, and just 13% in London.

Training that works

Training can easily become dull, so organisers aim to get attendees participating, either by changing the room layout, providing beanbags instead of chairs, or tables with just a few chairs to encourage small groups. They might include networking opportunities by introducing an event app to help people connect with each other.

Training formats have also changed because people learn in different ways. Some prefer visuals, such as videos and graphics; others respond to verbal presentation or other experiences, such as music and even physical activities. Training professionals have responded by combining traditional teaching with audio and visual presentations, interactive and group tasks to provide environments in which everyone learns.

Modern training courses are also shorter, so attendees are not overloaded with information or simply switch off. Many sessions last two hours (at most) or build in lots of short breaks if the course takes place over a day. Organisers thereby allow attendees to digest their learnings.

To close, here are five tips for effective training:

Business managers must inspire their teams by leading the way. Determine the required outcomes of the training in a way that makes it easy to measure. Training should be tailor-made; create learning outcomes to achieve the required outcomes. Training should take employees away from the office and let them reflect on their current ways of working. Track the impact of your training to assess what follow-up courses are needed.