Assemble Employee Study Groups and Resources
Just a little added support for employees involved in training, or preparing for certification, can help organizations realize better results from (and returns on) their training investments. Consider some or all of the following strategies to help employees make the most of their training experience and get the best value for your training dollars
- Set up a wiki or online forums/chat rooms on a per-topic or per-exam basis for employees to use and share.
- Encourage employees to share their best resources, learning materials, study techniques and so forth with one another. Build compendia of such materials and pointers for ongoing sharing.
- Provide access to practice tests, exercises and simulated or virtual labs for hands-on work so employees can check their learning, buttress their weak spots and develop a well-rounded understanding of training materials, exam objectives and coverage.
- Identify local subject matter experts to whom training and certification candidates can turn for added information and explanation when the going gets tough.
Because many employees will be interested in these kinds of things, you can find volunteers to help create and maintain these kinds of low-cost but high-value training and prep tools and resources.
Provide Recognition and Rewards to Those Who Succeed
Sure, it would be nice if everyone who earns a certification or masters some new body of knowledge could get a 25 percent raise and/or a promotion as a consequence of completing a program of some kind. In some cases, such rewards may even be required to retain employees who earn coveted credentials such as the Cisco CCIE, (ISC)2 CISSP or the ITIL Master Qualification.
However, even small rewards, such as a $100 gift certificate for a family night out or a gift card to a local department store can communicate your appreciation to those employees who manage to chew, swallow and digest what they must bite off to pursue training and certification. A public pat on the back in the employee newsletter or at a period employee meeting doesn't hurt, either. Recognition provides added impetus for employees to finish what they start and shows them that you value the time and effort they must expend in pursuing training and certification.
Ask for Ideas and Suggestions, Then Act Upon Them
Beyond the various methods to stretch your training budget outlined here, you can also turn to your target audience to ask how it thinks you can maximize the return on training and certification. You may be surprised by the quality and quantity of resulting feedback. Most employees respond positively to on-the-job opportunities for career and professional development. They, too, understand that the likelihood of continuing support rests on the outcomes of their training and certification efforts. In the end, they know full well that, by helping the organization excel and improve, they too will benefit from improved job and pay prospects.
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