All posts tagged employee training; corporate training; continued learning

Education makes a difference!For the first time in history, the United States has a larger population of college graduates than those without higher education. Does it really make a difference?

Statistics say yes – you’re more likely to be employed in a good job if you have some type of post-secondary education. According to a new report from the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University, of the 11.6 million jobs created in the last 5 years, 8.4 million went to those with at least a bachelor’s degree.

Even if you have an associate’s degree, it helps. Of those 11.6 million jobs, 3 million went to those with an associate’s degree or some college education.

Those with merely a high school education got the leftovers.

College grads make more money as well. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, someone with a bachelor’s degree made, on average, $1,137 per week in 2015. If you had only a High School diploma, your average weekly wage was $678, nearly half that of the college grad.

So, what’s the fix?

Go back to school.

This is the most obvious solution. However, before making this move, know why you’re going and what degree or credential you hope to earn. If you get this degree, will it really be easy to get a job that pays what you need? Do your homework! Talk with folks that have finished the program you’re looking to get into. If the school won’t put you in touch with alumni, that’s a bad sign. Stay away.

Be very thoughtful about the cost of the school and beware of schools who promise “free money” to attend. If possible, try to pay for school as you go. If you’re employed, and your company has a tuition reimbursement program, use it.

There are also online programs available, including programs from Harvard and Stanford Universities. Even if you only want to take a few specialized courses in accounting, finance, or marketing, this is a good option. Check out the Open Education Database for free or low-cost college courses.

Remember, even some college work increases your chances for a better job with a better wage.

Millions of people are struggling with huge loads of student loan debt because they didn’t understand what they were signing or the wages they could expect after graduation.ja

Don’t make that mistake.

Get more experience and develop additional skills.

For some, additional formal schooling isn’t practical. But that doesn’t discount learning on your own. There are courses you can take at a very low cost or free on the Internet. Check out Career One Stop for career resources and training.

If you prefer an apprenticeship program, check out this Department of Labor resource for available programs and scholarships.

Ask about additional training at your current employer. Many training budgets go unused because individuals don’t ask for additional training. Work with your manager to develop and training program, and do it!

Yes, it does make a difference if you have some education. Keep adding to your skill set to make yourself more marketable and employable.

 

Keep moving!Clear Choice Staffing Solutions is supporting the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition in honor of National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. During the month of May, we challenge all employees to get 30 minutes of physical activity every day.

Did you know that regular physical activity increases your chances of living a longer, healthier life? It also reduces your risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and some types of cancer. Yet in Colorado, 16% of adults don’t get enough physical activity and in Texas, nearly 28% don’t get the recommended amount of physical activity.

Recommended Activity

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend adults:

– Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week. Moderate activity includes

  • Walking fast
  • Dancing
  • Swimming
  • Raking leaves

National Physical Fitness and Sports Month - Get moving!– Do muscle-strengthening activities – like lifting weights or using exercise bands – at least 2 days a week.

Want greater physical fitness?

For even greater health benefits:

– Do 500 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week or 150 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic activity such as

  • Race walking, jogging or running
  • Swimming laps
  • Tennis (singles)
  • Aerobic dancing
  • Bicycling 10 miles per hour or faster
  • Jumping rope
  • Heavy gardening (continuous digging or hoeing)
  • Hiking uphill or with a heavy backpack

-Do muscle-strengthening activities at 2 days per week or more. Focus working on all the major muscle groups: legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms.

Physical activity is for everyone. No matter what shape you are in, you can find activities that work for you. Together, we can rise to the challenge and get more active during the month of May!

womenThe participation of women in the workforce has increased over the years until over half of all women of working age have a job or are looking for a job. Gender diversity is good for companies. In a study by the Kellogg School of Management, teams with both men and women performed better than single-sex groups because the mixed groups were better and solving problems.

We know there are differences in how men and women approach the world of work. Let’s talk about a few specifics.

Teaming

Women are good team members. They often are better at being supportive and rewarding, while men are often seen as better at delegating. Because women tend to more collaborative, their participation in teams often results in more ideas. Both styles are necessary when running an effective team.

womenInfluencing

Women are seen as better at encouragement and networking than men. Female workers read situations better and are seen as better communicators. They often are better at resolving conflicts. Partnership is seen as a feminine trait while aggressiveness is seen as more masculine.

Habits at work

Women have a greater tendency to ask for more and challenging work than men. Men are more apt to “wing it” or try to do a task or volunteer to do a job in which they have no experience. Women have a tendency to assume they need more experience than men to do the same job.

Women tend to take fewer sick days and often put in longer days than men. Both genders appreciate flexibility in the workplace, allowing them to handle personal matters that can’t wait until after business hours.

Negotiating

Men tend to be better negotiators than women. Men ask for more money when starting jobs while women may underestimate their value. Women who negotiate hard are often seen as too aggressive or not being part of the team. Tough male negotiators are seen as typical.

In addition, men tend to ask for what they want. Women often are not as obvious when asking for assignments. They are more likely to wait until their manager notices that it’s time for a new project.

womenEducation

Women increasingly have higher levels of education than their male coworkers. Women received 62% of advanced degrees granted in the U.S in 2009-10 according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). For every two men in college, three women are registered. In the next few years, women will have the majority of college degrees.

Companies who hire college-educated workforce will have more women to fill their ranks. With fewer college degrees, men could be shut out of management roles in larger organizations. This will be a very big culture shift for many companies.

The differences between how men and women view work are important to a well-rounded company. Studies have shown that companies are more profitable with more women in upper management positions. Diversity in the staff helps an organization to be well-rounded and better serve their customer base. Is your company promoting gender diversity?

Are you interested in a new position? Check out our jobs page here.

company cultureIf you’re looking for a new job, pay attention to the company culture. For many employees, it’s important to feel comfortable with the values, mission, and beliefs of their organisation. Here are three questions to ask yourself when wondering if you will fit in.

Are you a team player or an individual contributor?

Some companies value team players. The managers insist on everyone’s input before decisions are made and teamwork is the norm. Others prefer to give assignments to workers, then check in periodically to see how it’s going and when the deliverable is complete.

If you hate teams, you’re probably better off in a company that values individual contributors. If your company is your social circle, then choose a company that values team work and play. Ask your interviewer if being a team-player or individual contributor is more important.

Do you prefer close management, or left alone to deliver?

Some companies want their managers to be very involved in the day-to-day work. Many workers like having their manager closely monitoring how the work is going. The managers are available to smooth the path if the worker gets stuck.

Other workers hate having managers inquiring several times per day or week about the work. If you’re the type of worker that just wants to put their head down and finish, you’ll be happier in a company whose supervisors don’t over-manage.

Is the dress code conservative and professional or casual?

Dress codes can tell a lot about a company. Although over the years dress codes in many companies have relaxed, there are still places where business suits and very professional attire is required. Law, Finance, and Banking are still quite conservative careers.

If jeans and T-shirts are the only way you can be comfortable, find a company that it a bit more relaxed. Casual dress is often fine when employees don’t interact in-person with the customers. Information technology, customer call centers, and warehouse positions are often casual dress or require uniforms.

During the interview, ask to be taken through the office space where you’ll work. Notice how your future coworkers are dressed and be prepared to match them.

Finding a good cultural fit can be a challenge for employees. If you’re looking for a new position, pay attention to your surroundings during the interview and do a bit of research on the web and you can see if a company is a good cultural fit.

081113_blended_learningThis is part 6 of a series of six that discusses advantages and disadvantages of different methods.

There are multitudes of materials and methods to train employees in every industry and every position. Training that will help the employee do their job better, which makes them more valuable to the company. With all the choices there are for training, it can be confusing and almost intimidating determining which one is best to use and when. Sometimes, using more than one method is more effective.

To refresh what we have been covering in this series:

  • What are the goals for this training?

    • New skills
    • New techniques
    • Improved workplace behavior
    • Safer workplace
    • A workplace that is free of discrimination and harassment
  • Who is the training for?

    • New employees
    • Seasoned employees
    • Management
    • All of the above
  • What is the budget?

  • Is there a time frame or time constraints for this training?

  • What materials and resources are available for this training?

How you answer these questions will narrow down your training choices. Next, you will want to consider the pros and cons of each choice that fits your needs determined by those answers. There are many advancements in training, but the most traditional format is still the most effective and viable.

Blended Learning Approach

Blended learning is a concept using commonsense that ends with successful results of learning. The blended learning approach acknowledges that one size does not fit everyone for successful training. Blended learning uses multiple methods of training on one subject and here, we offer some reasoning to that note:

  • Studies have shown that a blended learning program reduces training cost and time by more over 50 percent
  • Studies have shown a 10 percent improvement in the outcome compared to traditional training
  • Experts in learning believe that one advantage of blended learning is that it is more how people learn on the job in real time with on-hand experience and co-worker interaction

This variety of this approach keeps everyone involved engaged and provides the following affects:

  • Audience Make Up
  • Compliance Issues
  • Budget Consideration
  • Space Constraints
  • Subject Matter
  • Types of learners

Each and everyone of these considerations have an affect on the choices that are made for training. They could necessitate that a blended learning approach and there is the possibility that the blended approach has been used already without realizing it. For example, if you have:

  • Incorporated group discussion, role playing or written quiz with a PowerPoint training session?
  • Utilized different training for different steps of a complex subject?
  • Have a hands-on demo with a live trainer and provide refresher with a CD-ROM or online course?

Plan For Future Training

Going forward, you can design blended learning approaches once training needs have been identified by answering these questions:

  • What training conditions do you have to work with?
  • How many students will be included and is there classroom space to fit all comfortably?
  • How many computers are available in this classroom?
  • What resources do you have available?
  • Are the characteristics of the training content hard or soft?
  • Who are you targeting and what are the demographics?
  • Will languages will you need to furnish the training?
  • What is the time frame this training needs to be completed?

How you answer each of these questions will help you determine the best method of training that will provide the most optimal method. From this exercise, trainees are given a well-planned trainings session because it has been custom-designed.

Blended training will save money and time while making the most out of the resources available and in the end, the employees have received a level of training that will benefit them in the future, which in turn, benefits the company.

080413_choosing_training_technique_part_4 - 2Welcome back again to part 5 of a series of six that discusses advantages and disadvantages of different methods.

There are multitudes of materials and methods to train employees in every industry and every position. Training that will help the employee do their job better, which makes them more valuable to the company. With all the choices there are for training, it can be confusing and almost intimidating determining which one is best to use and when. Sometimes, using more than one method is more effective.

To refresh from the beginning:

  • What are the goals for this training?

  • New skills
    New techniques
    Improved workplace behavior
    Safer workplace
    A workplace that is free of discrimination and harassment

    • Who is the training for? What is the budget?

      • New employees
      • Seasoned employees
      • Management
      • All of the above
    • Is there a time frame or time constraints for this training?

    • What materials and resources are available for this training

    How you answer these questions will narrow down your training choices. Next, you will want to consider the pros and cons of each choice that fits your needs determined by those answers. There are many advances in training, but the most traditional format is still the most effective and viable.

Online or E-Learning

When a company needs to train employees that are not located on one area, say across the country or around the world, besides CBT, they are utilizing other technologies for training. The number of companies using e-learning is at record highs and because access to the internet is more available than ever before, it is anticipated that number will keep growing. continue to rise. Examples of E-learning are:

  • Web-Based Training: Computer-based training modules are placed on the Web and companies make it available to employees. This may be through the company’s intranet or on a vendor’s website that has been arranged by the company. The number of courses available on the Internet are great and cover every topic in every industry possible. Employees have hands-on opportunity with these courses, allowing them to work through training at their own pace. Employees use the same standardized program and the materials used are easy to update so training is always current. Companies may invest in web-based training programs that are linked with software to that tracks employees progress trackable.
  • Teleconferencing: With the need to train employees in various locations, this method allows the trainer to be in one place and still able to train a group all at once. Employees are connected to the training by network to the central location. They are able to ask questions with a webchat feature and demos can be included.
  • Audioconference: Similar to teleconferencing but is audio only. A meeting time is established and employees dial in with an assigned phone number and participant number. As the speakers give their training presentation, employees are able to ask question and interact with the trainer at the end of sessions. An email address is usually given for employees to send in questionsas well.
  • Webinars: This is a combination of audio and visual where employees will call a pre-determined phone number and receive live training by audio with visual training material on their computer screens. This method is much like presentations by CD-ROM or PowerPoint and offer some online interactivity. At the end of the training, a Q & A session may be held.
  • Online Classes: This is perfect for long distance learning and with schools offering certificates or degrees from online programs, there is minimal campus activity required, if any at all.
  • Collaborative Training: Employees are linked on a network and the coach or trainer can teach them about report writing and technical documents.
  • Electronic mail: More commonly known as e-mail, is used to enhance or promote training by sending employees reminders for training. Employer can also solicit follow up for trainers and conduct training evaluations.

 

Advantages of Online or E-Learning

* Great for mulitple location training at once

* Saves money on travel expenses

* Less expensive way to train employees with expert industry professionals

* Good for refresher training

* Good for self-paced learning

* Easy to update and keep training current

* Easy to match training to employee knowledge, needs and skill levels

 

Disadvantages of Online or E-Learning

* Employees must be computer literate

* Not able to customized to your company’s needs.

* Is impersonal training

* Employees may be intimidated by technology

* Access to a computer and internet is a must

* Inadequate or outdated hardware can cause programs to malfunction

* Company’s Internet servers may not have enough bandwidth

* Self-instruction offers limited opportunities to receive expert advise

conferenceThis is part 4 of a series of six that discusses advantages and disadvantages of different methods. 

There are multitudes of materials and methods to train employees in every industry and every position. Training that will help the employee do their job better, which makes them more valuable to the company. With all the choices there are for training, it can be confusing and almost intimidating determining which one is best to use and when. Sometimes, using more than one method is more effective. To refresh from the beginning: 

  • What are the goals for this training?

New skills
New techniques
Improved workplace behavior
Safer workplace
A workplace that is free of discrimination and harassment

  • Who is the training for? What is the budget?

    • New employees
    • Seasoned employees
    • Management
    • All of the above
  • Is there a time frame or time constraints for this training?

  • What materials and resources are available for this training

How you answer these questions will narrow down your training choices. Next, you will want to consider the pros and cons of each choice that fits your needs determined by those answers. There are many advances in training, but the most traditional format is still the most effective and viable.

CBT or Computer-Based Training

As technology grows and becomes more and more widespread, computer-based training is increasingly becoming the prevalent way to train employees. Chances are that the traditional forms of training won’t be replaced entirely technology, mainly because human interaction will always be needed in the workplace However, technology will enhance those other forms of training.

Every company should look into what training technologies that is out there and determine how it could supplement their existing training program or, even develop new ways to train. CBT formats are available in simple text-only programs, the most sophisticated multimedia programs to virtual reality.

  • Text-only: Of all training programs, this is the simplest computer-based training. It offers self-paced method with text-only format. These programs are akin to print-based, individualized training modules with interactive features. A simple in format that is highly effective and make complicated concepts and information easier to comprehend in an easy accessible way.
  • CD-ROM: There are many off-the-shelf training programs on a wide range of topics for the workplace on CD-ROM. Or training consultants can design custom programs for a company’s specific needs.
  • Multimedia. Advanced from of CBT, these training materials more sophisticated than text-only programs. They offer animation, audio, graphics and video in addition to text, making the training more interesting. Multimedia tends to be more challenging and stimulating to the mind and are usually found in DVD format.
  • Virtual Reality. This three-dimensional training is interactive that immerses the trainee into the learning experience. This training takes the form of simulation and offers a hands-on type of training that is highly effective, such as flight simulators

Advantages of CBT or Computer-Based Training

* They are easy to use

* They can be customized

* Employees can develop and practice the new skill

* They are good for self-paced training and refresher courses

* Since it can be used over and over, it is cost-effective

* They can be available 24/7/365 making the training flexible with employees schedules

* The interactive programs require the employee to take part by answering questions

* Training can be standardized with the uniform approach of this method

* CBT makes it possible to track each employee’s progress and provides stats for evaluation

 

Disadvantages of CBT or Computer-Based Training

* The employee must have some computer literacy

* The employee must have computer access

* There is no trainer interacting, therefore nobody to ask questions or offer help

* The “soft-skills” that is needed by some position such as customer service, sales is not available

* For one time training or new employee training, CBT is not the best choice

* Some CBT programs are “boring” and em

080413_choosing_training_technique_part_3 - 1This is the first in a series of six techniques over the next few days that will discuss advantages and disadvantages they offer. In the end, we will cover how to combine various methods so that is the most effective.

There are multitudes of materials and methods to train employees in every industry and every position. Training that will help the employee do their job better, which makes them more valuable to the company. With all the choices there are for training, it can be confusing and almost intimidating determining which one is best to use and when. Sometimes, using more than one method is more effective.

Before determining training techniques, answer these questions:

  • What are the goals for this training?

New skills
New techniques
Improved workplace behavior
Safer workplace
A workplace that is free of discrimination and harassment

  • Who is the training for? What is the budget?Is there a time frame or time constraints for this training?

    • New employees
    • Seasoned employees
    • Management
    • All of the above
  • What materials and resources are available for this training?

How you answer these questions will narrow down your training choices. Next, you will want to consider the pros and cons of each choice that fits your needs determined by those answers. There are many advancements in training, but the most traditional format is still the most effective and viable.

Classroom or Instructor-Led

While many will consider this old school, it is still popular: Instructor-led Training. Included in this style of training, there are various types:

  • Blackboard or whiteboard: When the participants are asked to write on the board or the instructor writes the participant’s feedback on the board, it is one of the most effective ways of training.
  • Overhead projector: PowerPoint® presentations are quickly replacing this method simply because it is less demanding manually, however, overheads allow the instructor to customize the training by writing on them as they go.
  • Videos and Lectures: Paired together can break up the monotony of a lecture with video portions that demonstrate and explain the lectured topic as well a offer case studies for round-table discussion.
  • PowerPoint® Presentation: Customized group training is possible with presentation software that is led by the instructor. Training materials are put on a CDROM then displayed on a large screen to be viewed by a room full of trainees. THE CDROM can also be duplicated and handed out so employees can do individual review of the training. This is also good for employees that miss the group session. This method along with handouts is most popular method.
  • Storytelling: Storytelling is one of the oldest ways of teaching. Since the beginning of time, storytelling has been a way to discuss the right and wrong ways of behavior or doing things and when it comes to training how to perform skills, this is one of the most effective methods. After the story is told, the following questions can be asked, which engages the employee to think about what they just heard:
    • Does this story relate to the training? How?
    • How did you feel from the choices the main character made?
    • Were your assumptions throughout the story correct?
    • What would you have done differently?

This technique is nonthreatening because there is no right or wrong answer. It can be the most cost effective and if the trainers has their own stories, it makes the training session more personal.

Advantages Of Instructor-Led Training:

1. This is an efficient method to present material to groups

2. It is more personal than computer-based training or other methods

3. Everyone is receiving the same training at the same time

4. When not outsources, it cost-effective

5. Storytelling is an attention grabber

Disadvantages Of Instructor-Led Training:

1. Not always interactive

2. The instructor’s effectiveness can affect the success of the training

3. Scheduling for groups can be challenging, especially if trainees are spread out

By making sure the employees are engaged in the training session, you are more likely to have a successful training session. Choose trainers that have public speaking experience, they are interactive with the group and make certain they have all the materials needed.