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With the recession gradually easing, its time to take stock. Many companies cut costs (rightly or wrongly) and hunkered down to deal with the difficult economy. I don’t begrudge anyone taking tough measures to save their company. I did the same thing.

But guess what I did not cut? Training, employee development and professional improvement. Yes I know what you are saying … But these are cost centers .. maybe.. but they are also your single most effective competitive advantage!

I like this article from

“If you aren’t doing all you can to train the next generation of skilled workers, within a decade you may find yourself without the knowledge you need.” Clare Goldsberry.

According to Pohl:

Pohl said that every company needs a good employee development plan that includes:
1. Implementing a proactive worker recruiting and hiring program. “Don’t wait for them to come to you,” he advised. “Go find them.”
2. Implement a structured employee training program, along with an existing-employee improvement program.
3. Identify non-skill (soft) success characteristics. List the skill-related ideal employee for your shop. “Be creative in where you look,” advised Pohl. “Do you like the way the young person at Best Buy explains high-tech equipment to you? [This demonstrates technical know-how.] Always keep your eyes open for the type of person you’ve identified that would be an asset to your company.”
4. Then present this person with solid reasons for working in the industry. Ask if he or she has a friend that might be interested. “It all starts with you,” said Pohl.
5. Provide structured employee training. “Don’t just say ‘go work with Charlie and he’ll show you the ropes,’” said Pohl. “You need planned days of orientation.”
6. Provide efficient skills development, including:
• Expectations and outcomes.
• Mentorship—pass down the knowledge and skills.
• Apprenticeship program. “We need to take another look at this,” said Pohl.

Read the whole article here



Training can be defined as the process of teaching or learning a skill. That’s the textbook definition. But in reality, the concept of training has many more aspects than just learning a skill. To many organizations, training is a means of meeting regulatory or legal requirements. Common to this purpose, for example, is training employees in the rules of sexual harassment in the workplace. There are other examples, as well: Safety Training for employees working with industrial equipment to meet insurance requirements or training in the organization’s policy and procedures. There is management training, too. One of the programs we see quite frequently is Training for New Supervisors. (You can find an expanded list of typical training courses on the eLeaP Learning Management System’s website at

Training can also become a means of altering behavior, not in a punitive way but so that gaps in organizational performance can be closed. Common to this thread is the findings of an audit, financial or for certification.  On occasion, findings require corrective action and if that affects a relatively large number of employees, training is often the solution to meeting the requirements.

For the individual, training can be a way to earn professional certification. Although some certifications may involve learning new skills, it is not directly focused on them nor is it the primary motivating factor. Likely, the motivation for gaining professional certification is to advance one’s career or become more employable. We consider this “professional development.”

There’s no argument that compliance or certification training is very important…to the organization, to the individual, or both. But the questions that we hear again and again is this: “How does training add value to my organization? “Why should training and professional development be a part of our strategy?” “Where, exactly, is the return on the investment?

Get more answers at:



What Executives and HR Professionals Need to Know About Developing Online Training

Here’s what you’ll find covered:

* What it takes to make online training effective
* 10 key methods to optimize online training for maximum impact
* Working with technical material
* Engaging learners and measuring impact
* Key elements in selecting a Learning Management System

To download this valuable research white paper, click here.




According to a study sponsored by the Business Roundtable, a Washington-based association of chief executives of large companies,  regardless of the current difficult conditions, its harder to find qualifies employable labor. Most employers are coming up short in their search for the right skills and talent for this hypercompetitive world.

Even as they come up empty in their search for talent, employers anticipate that most of their future job openings will require more education and training.

Don’t be caught in this predicament. Look to boost your training and development efforts by using training systems such as eLeaP Training Platform and LMS. Get free e-learning resources at



What do you do when you have 8000 employees all across the globe? What happens if the culture treated training and development as an afterthought on the org. chart?

Read the NetApp story below:

“They used to try to avoid NetApp University, or they said ‘NetApp Who?’ instead of ‘NetApp U,’” Nagarathnam said. “Now we’re integral to the business.”
Nagarathnam said the company’s learning organization was in disarray when he joined, with bits and pieces of training here and there and a lack of clear direction and focus. Company revenues had been growing steadily from $1.17 billion in 2001 to a reported $3.4 billion in fiscal year 2009, and NetApp’s global workforce had hit 8,000 employees, but NetApp University had simply failed to keep the pace.

“They had too many pockets of training within NetApp because the learning organization really hadn’t stepped up to meet the requirements of the company,” he said. “The systems, processes and consistency of offerings were completely missing.”

In his year and a half on the job, Nagarathnam focused on building a solid foundation for enterprisewide training that delivers education opportunities to NetApp’s internal employees, external partners and customers. It didn’t take long to see results.

NetApp University recently received the Total Customer Experience award — the top award within the company.

“It typically goes out to sales organizations,” Nagarathnam said. “It’s very, very rare for an accomplishment of this kind to be recognized for the award. It speaks volumes to the impact we have made. As our COO announced at our all-hands [meeting], we are now giving a competitive edge to our company with the way the training organization is supporting the readiness and the development of the employees.”

Get more at:



The U.S. Department of Labor awarded $10 million in funding to organizations that connect older Americans to career opportunities. The Aging Worker Initiative: Strategies for Regional Talent Development, is designed to train workers 55 and older for jobs in high-growth, high-demand industries, and increase the public workforce system’s capacity to effectively serve an aging worker population. The Department has also launched a private-public partnership with the Atlantic Philanthropies, which will invest an additional $3.6 million in this effort

“This grant provides opportunities for older Americans who face challenges reentering or remaining in the workforce,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. “With expanded education and skills training, these workers can broaden their own career opportunities and contribute to the growth of industries throughout the United States.”

Ten awards of approximately $1 million each were made to organizations in Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin. The grants awarded target older individuals who have been laid off and are seeking re-employment; need to stay in the workforce beyond the traditional retirement age, but need training to increase their skills; and who face other barriers to employment such as disabilities or low levels of English proficiency.

As part of its investment in the Aging Worker Initiative, The Atlantic Philanthropies has funded the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning and the Council on Competitiveness to provide assistance to the grantees, and document and disseminate effective strategies to promote career opportunities for older workers.

The ability to develop, attract and retain a well-educated and skilled workforce is a key factor in economic growth. Successful applicants recognized that older workers are a valuable, though often underutilized, labor pool that can meet the workforce needs of regional economies. Currently, 22.6 percent of the U.S. population is over the age of 55. Between 2006 and 2016, the number of workers 55 and over is projected to increase by 36.5 percent.

“In the wake of the economic downturn, the impact of The Aging Worker Initiative is all the more important,” said Marcia Smith, Senior Vice President of The Atlantic Philanthropies. “This effort will create opportunities for older adults to work, support themselves and their families, and contribute to the reinvigoration of their local economies.”
For more info:




The Defender Leadership Advantage training is not based on technical or job-based training .. says “Marcia Raab, chief marketing officer”.

So you are asking why invest over $16,000 per employee to train these people when the training is not even job related? What gives?

Well, Defender Leadership Advantage training is instead based on helping employees manage and improve their personal finances, set and achieve goals and develop overall healthy habits. Wow! Talk about upsetting the proverbial training industry cart. However upon closer inspection, what makes A++ employees? Well do you really want employees to rush from one financial catastrophe to the next? Do you want employees who are so unorganized that they require constant supervision and help? Do you want employees who are unable to take on projects and deliver clear objectives an meet milestones.

I think that is what we can learn from the innovative folks at the Defender Direct.

Perhaps you too want to start a “non traditional” training program? Learn how you can get started at Get free e-learning resources at



The most common reason establishments gave for providing formal job skills training was that training was necessary to provide skills specific to their organization (75 percent). Other important reasons for providing formal job skills training were to keep up with changes in technology or production methods and to retain valuable employees; each of these reasons was cited by more than half of those providing formal job skills training.

Don’t be left out.  Get free e-learning resources at



Surprisingly, sexual harassment training is not specifically required by federal law.  However, training is an important tool to prevent harassment and limit your liability.

Q:  Are we required to provide our employees with training on sexual harassment?

A:  No federal law specifically requires sexual harassment training, but a few state laws do. Still, training is a vital element of any harassment policy.  Even if your organization is not required by law to conduct this training, you can limit your potential liability by doing so and, at the same time, promote a more productive work environment.

Here’s a quick look at state law requirements.  Some states, such as California and Connecticut, require harassment training only for supervisors.  One state, Maine, requires that all new employees receive the training.  You should check with your state equal employment opportunity agency to determine potential coverage.

While Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (which prohibits sexual harassment as a form of sex discrimination) does not require training, decisions by the Supreme Court illustrate the importance of having an effective harassment policy and complaint procedure that includes employee training.

In Burlington Indus. v. Ellerth, 524 U.S. 742 (1998), and Faragher v. City of Boca Raton, Fla., 524 U.S. 775 (1998), the Court determined that an employer may be able to defend itself from liability for harassment by a supervisor in certain cases if it has taken reasonable care to prevent and correct any sexually harassing behavior.  In particular, you must adopt a policy against sexual harassment, have an effective complaint procedure, and take steps to ensure that employees are aware of their rights and obligations and are properly trained in harassment issues.

Clearly, if you do not train your employees, you will have a difficult time defending harassment claims. To be effective, training should target not only employees but also supervisors who have the authority to hire, fire, or make other employment decisions.  At a minimum, your harassment training should include the following:

1.  A statement that you condemn harassment of any kind, even if it is not explicitly prohibited by your policy or by law.

2.  The definition of harassment, with particular attention paid to the legal definitions of sexual harassment, including quid pro quo and hostile work environment.

3.  A description of prohibited conduct.

4.  The consequences of violating your harassment policy and the types of behavior that may lead to immediate termination.

5.  The use of your dispute resolution procedure for handling complaints.

6.  Ways to report harassment combined with assurances that there will not be any retaliation for filing complaints or making reports.

An obvious conclusion from the court cases is that harassment training is not optional if you want to limit your liability.  So, you can either treat the training as a necessary evil or turn it into an opportunity to enhance good employee relations.  The latter approach makes the most sense since it both builds a positive work environment and a sound legal defense.

Subscribers to the Personnel Policy Manual and HR Policy Answers can find more information on sexual harassment in Productive Work Environment, Chapter 201A.

Download free sexual harassment policy and HR policies from

Use learning management systems like eLeaP LMS & Training Software to create, manage and track all training including sexual harassment training. Get free resources at

Please note that the above comments are not intended as legal advice.  You should consult an attorney for a legal opinion on this matter.

Copyright © Personnel Policy Service, Inc.

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