Employee empowerment

Maria Zahra's article on The Sunday Times of Malta

What defines a learning organisation?

A learning organisation is one which places focus and importance on the development of its employees. It is open to new methods and processes and is also concerned with seeing its employees grow both professionally and personally.

A learning organisation knows that developing talent also means that it will keep the organisation competitive. Moreover, in a learning organisation, the development of the employees will be always on the forefront: this means that it is not something that is just done once, but is a continuous process.

What are the returns for an organisation that invests in continuous training?

Trained human resources provide an organisation with a competitive edge because employees become more effective at work, thus leading to better productivity.

Productive employees are retained and this also means lower recruitment costs. The better trained employees are, the more they help their organisation grow because learning allows employees to be more innovative and identify and solve problems quicker.

How does an organisation align its business needs with the needs and talents of its employees?

There are various ways that this can be done such as through performance appraisals and structured training needs analysis. According to our HR survey, 66 per cent of organisations use performance appraisals and 32 per cent use a training needs analysis. Tools such as these can help in ensuring that learning and development goals are aligned with business goals.

In what ways does investing in training also lead to employee motivation and empowerment?

When constant learning is fostered among employees, their sense of initiative is strengthened and they feel more empowered to drive their organisation forward. When employees see that their employer believes and invests in them, they feel trusted and develop a stronger drive and motivation. Moreover, their positive morale leads to better processes, efficiency and results.

Do you still encounter situations where managers might feel threatened by a culture of training and empowerment?

We do and most times, in these scenarios, we also notice a lack of motivation and drive. I believe that employers should allow employees to pursue learning in certain ways that they choose, and not just according to the business goals, while taking into consideration certain limitations and budgets.

Does an organisation which doesn’t invest in employee training risk talent retention problems?

Thanks to training, employees are able to not only do their jobs better but to also learn about new aspects of business and increase their skills. This can also mean that employees are able to take on higher level responsibilities and use authority to make decisions. All of these contribute towards employee engagement and allows employees to feel that the organisation is investing in them and considers them as one of its most important assets.

Is the talent and training management system the sole responsibility of the HR department or of the whole organisation?

HR has a pivotal role for talent and training management. Not only should employees be part of their learning and development, but each function and department of the organisation should identify its own development areas. Really and truly this is the same for any HR function such as recruitment and performance management. It is likely that the HR function will spearhead these areas of HR but ultimately everyone needs to contribute towards this.

Does effective training also help employees in their personal life?

Absolutely. Training allows employees to be able to perform their duties better, meaning that frustrations and stress at the workplace are less likely to happen, thus not affecting their personal life.

The aspect of motivation also helps employees in their personal life. Motivation does not simply give you the energy to work but allows employees to entirely change their perception of everything that they do. When you start factoring all these issues together, you realise they are all interlinked and it’s all a chain reaction.

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