Identifying and Examining Training Constraints

Finding, Training & Retaining Employees, Part 13


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When conducting a training needs analysis, it is important to examine any potential roadblocks that may stand in the way of a successful training program. These roadblocks are commonly referred to as training constraints, and here are three of the most common that must be overcome in order to achieve an effective program.

The training budget often is the largest constraint that companies encounter, but not in the way one might think. Although most companies acknowledge the need for training and that there is a cost associated with training, they often fail to put a training plan in place because they struggle with even setting an appropriate training budget. Many shop owners and managers fear they will spend too much and not obtain a reasonable return on their investment. As a result, there often is no training at all.  

To overcome this constraint, companies can draw from some standards used in other industries. For example, some companies set an annual training budget that is 2 percent of their annual total employee wages. Others use 1 percent. Use whichever figure makes more sense for your business. The key is to set a number and commit to it. 

Time usually is the second largest constraint, because in a job shop environment, production highs and lows make developing, scheduling and executing training daunting tasks. As such, many employees also view training negatively, so it is essential for management to address this head-on with firm leadership. This constraint can only be overcome if the solution comes straight from the top, with the highest-level managers and owners mandating training. 

The final major training constraint is communication. Train-ing goals cannot be achieved without effective communication. Every person in the organization should be made to understand the purpose and goal of any training prior to that training’s development. Essentially, effective communication comes down to whether or not the organization understands the expectations of the training.  

Supervisors must know what to expect from subordinates after the training is complete, and, on the flip-side, the trainees must know what will be expected from them. All training expectations must be completely understood by every stakeholder connected to the training event—and that comes down to robust communication at all levels. 

Although these three are not the only constraints to successful training, companies that work to address and overcome them before developing a training program will be well on their way to success.