If we don’t keep up with the latest knowledge in our fields, we risk falling behind in this competitive global economy. And as the pace of technological development accelerates, job-specific technical training has become particularly important.
Seasoned professionals with years of experience and robust educational backgrounds are finding themselves on the precipice of a formidable challenge—the skills gap. Continuous technical training programs are indispensable to solving this problem.
What Is Technical Training?
Technical training is the process of helping your workforce improve the knowledge, skills, and abilities they use to perform their daily jobs. This training ensures your employees achieve health, safety, compliance, and business performance metrics.
Unlike soft skills, such as leadership development, creativity, or communications, technical skills include operating heavy equipment, maintenance, troubleshooting, and repair—focusing on operating a workplace that’s safe for workers and compliant with industrial and environmental regulations while maintaining cost-effective availability and reliability of capital assets.
Essentially, technical training can’t just be a one-time event; it must be a continuous, ongoing effort.
The Importance of Continuous Technical Training
Nearly every occupation needs periodic or continuous training. Whether you’re a developer learning the latest programming language or a marketing professional learning how to leverage artificial intelligence for more successful advertising campaigns, there are always ways each employee can improve their job-related skills by making the most of the latest information at their disposal.
Providing technical training to your staff may seem like an abstract and hard-to-quantify expense, but it should be considered an essential investment. For example, leading industrial organizations with significant capital assets and high facility costs view training as critical to ensuring their staff can effectively and safely operate and maintain expensive equipment while avoiding unexpected costs. Manufacturing companies and those focused on production output in all industries need their workforce ready and able to perform. When combined with proper asset strategies, training can result in higher equipment availability, ultimately resulting in less downtime so they can achieve production goals.
1. Close Your Skills Gap
The discrepancy between what skills are needed and what skills many professionals are actually proficient in is evolving at an unprecedented pace, outpacing the skill sets they can acquire through conventional education and prior work experiences.
According to the World Economic Forum’s “The Future of Jobs Report 2023,” companies believe that 44% of their employees will require significant reskilling and upskilling over the next five years to meet the demands of emerging job roles. This signals an apparent disconnect between the skills employees possess and those required to thrive in an increasingly digital and interconnected world.
The repercussions of the skills gap extend far beyond individual professionals, permeating the very fabric of organizations and industries. Professionals grappling with an outdated skill set find themselves less equipped to handle the demands of contemporary job roles. It jeopardizes their career trajectories and hampers the overall productivity and innovation potential of the organizations they serve.
In 2021, McKinsey & Company reported that 83% of companies across the globe were aware they had a skills gap or would in the immediate future. The ripple effect of this phenomenon is felt across all industries as different sectors struggle to keep pace with the evolving landscape and the demands of an increasingly tech-driven marketplace.
Maintaining a robust technical training program is a sure-fire way to help close the skills gap your organization is likely experiencing.
2. Improve Employee Retention
In addition to the criticality of having staff able to meet production demands, studies show that employees who receive training are more likely to stay in their jobs. According to a 2018 study by Work Institute, employees listed that the main reason for leaving their jobs was the lack of opportunities to develop their skills further.
Aside from having a more loyal workforce, there are other benefits to having a well-trained staff. Trained workers are more productive and efficient at their jobs, and as a result, there are fewer errors in their work. In fact, an engagement poll from Gallup in 2016 showed that properly trained employees are 17% more productive than their untrained counterparts.
3. Mitigate Risk
Technical training also reduces business risks by ensuring that skills, production standards, and quality controls are updated and relevant. In the worst-case scenario, a lack of proper training could harm employees, customers, or other on-site personnel. Employees not adequately trained on the latest safety procedures and techniques may be underqualified to operate dangerous machinery. This lack of training could even be ruled as negligence by the employer, subjecting them to fines, expenses, or even liability.
Technical skills are central for all staff but are especially critical for frontline and mid-level managers. If managers don’t know how to complete a task themselves, how can they guide their team or effectively evaluate their subordinates when it comes time for performance reviews?
Measuring Your Continuous Technical Training for Continued Success
The evolving skills gap underscores the critical need for professionals to adapt swiftly to emerging demands. Far from a one-time event, technical training is a linchpin in the journey toward sustained success.
The tangible benefits of continuous training—enhanced productivity, improved retention, and effective risk mitigation—underscore its status as a strategic investment. But only through intentional measurement efforts before, during, and after training delivery can organizations prove ROI and make the right ongoing decisions about combatting the skills gap. In measuring the impact of technical training programs, organizations hold the key to unlocking a future of growth, innovation, and safety.