Skills development programs prepare employees to perform job tasks more effectively. Once an organization defines its strategic goals, company executives typically sponsor programs that provide employees opportunities for developing specific expertise relevant to business objectives while also pursuing career development. Training professionals assess the needs of the organization so that they can define, design, develop and deliver effective classes, lectures and seminars. Developing any skill, including how to design instructional content or teach courses, requires practice and feedback from an expert coach or mentor.
Training programs that emphasize skills development feature instructional presentations and opportunities to practice the skills using the tips and techniques described by seasoned professionals. For example, training on leadership skills usually includes basic presentations on leadership styles, historical examples of exemplary leaders and discussions about leadership traits and attributes. Skills development programs allow participants to capitalize on what they already know to formulate new strategies for performing their job more effectively. Courses on developing other skills, such as how to teach students new procedures, usually offers checklists of items that convey expert advice.
Skills development training classes, both classroom offerings and self-paced alternatives, give participants a chance to improve their professional skills, such as listening, negotiating, making decisions, managing change, and handling conflict. Training in technical skill development allows students to learn new tools, such as software applications or business procedures. Participants typically have the opportunity to observe experienced personnel, such as experienced lecturers, successfully performing these skills. After watching several examples, students role-play or use a simulated environment to exercise new skills and knowledge in a safe environment with no risks or repercussions for mistakes.
Training professionals frequently offer skills development programs in several formats to suit the needs of busy professionals in the global workforce. Traditional classroom settings such as seminars and workshops provide face-to-face opportunities for instructors to provide advice on completing policies and procedures. Multimedia Web-based training alternatives make similar content available to employees on a more convenient basis, without the need to travel or adjust their schedules to accommodate formal education. Additionally, organizations offer skills development training to employees using Web conferencing software, providing distance learning options for employees whose learning styles require live instruction. Students, such as prospective teachers, learn new skills, including how to respond to questions, manage classroom schedules or evaluate performance, by watching others.
Proving the success of effective skills development training programs, including those that provide enrichment opportunities for training professionals, usually involves measuring employee performance back on the job. In addition to measuring employee satisfaction during and after the training course, training professionals typically test students at the completion of skills training to ensure the learning objectives were met by all participants and provide remediation if the students have not mastered the material. Additionally, three to six months after the course, training professionals usually ask the employees’ managers if they observe a change in behavior in employees once the students are back on the job. By measuring the impact skills training has on job performance, instructors can ensure training effectiveness and can revise course offerings if the instructional materials do not provide the desired results in improving skills.