Basis of employee development is skill training, which has two objectives:
Keeping employees’ skills up-to-date with developing technologies and business practices,
Helping employees master the skills they need to advance within the company.
Companies that provide effective skill training benefit from the workers who are well versed in skills and knowledge while
employees maintain their “employability” or advance to higher standards.
Informal And Formal Approaches
Informal training is usually carried out as on-the-job training (OJT) which is the most common
skill development approach as it is the least costly way of training. OJT practices differ in companies in different
American approach is much unstructured and doesn’t include trainers or training materials while Japanese companies
see OJT as a key element of training systems to develop their employees and they follow a structured & planned approach.
Employees in Japanese companies see themselves as a teacher for the person below him and as a student of the person
who is above.
Formal training is highly structured compared to OJT practices, takes place in classroom
or e-learning and can be used to address both company-specific & general skills. However, it is more expensive as it includes
dedicated trainers, depends on curriculum materials that must be kept up-to-date and employees cannot perform
their tasks during the classes.
Many large corporations perform formal training through “corporate universities” for two reasons. First is
to align employee training with business strategy so that they can focus on the specific skills to fulfill
their strategy and decrease the shortage of skills in key positions. The other reason is to assure a continual
upgrade of internal knowledge.
Outsourcing skill training to vocational-technical schools is another way and in areas where the firms are
dominant employers, have a say in institutions’ curricula, thus they can shape the training they need for
Investment in employee training provides positive return in productivity and greater productivity increases
of corporate equity. However, training investments do not mean a certain positive return for the companies
and are highly dependent on reinforcement and management support.
Online learning or “distance learning”, has clear advantages over formal classroom training programs
Lower cost to supply despite the fixed costs in curriculum development.
Elimination of travel costs and lost production time as online training cuts the cost of travel, lodging and
meals to send employees to classroom training sessions. In addition, while the employees are in the classroom,
they are not producing.
Scalable to any level of demand as training can be available to large number of employees at same cost.
On-demand availability as it is available whenever and wherever employees need them.
Despite its advantages, it lacks of the personal contact and interactions during the classroom training or OJT,
therefore the best solution may be to use online training in conjunction with other formal and informal methods.