Training and development (T&D) can be a great use of organisational resources for many reasons. It can improve competitiveness in a global market, decrease skills and performance gaps, be used as a motivational tool for employees and improve individual capabilities and performance. It can also be great for employer branding and attracting quality talent to your organisation. Although, if your planning for T&D is not done strategically it can come at a massive loss.

Firstly, I would suggest assessing what issues you are having and determine if the best solution is to train and develop staff? Perhaps the problem is not a skills gap, but rather a motivation and engagement issue within the organisation. Whereby the best solution might be to sit down with your employees through regular performance management sessions and find out what is hindering their performance. It could be an external hindrance impacting performance or perhaps the rewards aren’t aligned with their individual values, or the company culture disengaging? These are things that you need to know to make a well-informed decision and investment in T&D.

Alternatively, what if it is a skills and performance gap but the task, duties and responsibilities for the role are beyond the capabilities of the current staff. Perhaps it may be more cost effective to recruit someone outside the organisation that already has the skills your company needs? Conducting job analysis on a regular basis is recommended to stay on top of any internal or external changes your industry is experiencing. This can be incorporated into your company’s organisational development plan and assist with staying ahead of your competitors.

However, if T&D is a more suited option, great. Here are a few recommended steps to follow. Whilst planning you should always ask yourself the basics, who, what, when, where, why and how? With the most important being who, why and what? Let me explain further.


Determining who needs training and development can be challenging for employers. Should it be done on an individual level for selected staff, on a group level for key focus groups or perhaps organisation wide? This is where you should ask yourself, who needs to know the content of what your training and who doesn’t? For example, if the problem is cybersecurity-related should you organise the office accountant to attend the session or is it more appropriate for the IT security team to attend? These are basic questions that need to be asked.


Beyond establishing who needs training and development, you also need to know why. Why is it important that you provide training and development opportunities for employees? This could be a result of many factors, for example it could be due to legislative changes by governing bodies. Another reason could pertain to a performance gap that current employees can improve to meet industry standards. Understanding why, will not only justify T&D for top management approval but it is also critical for employees to know and understand the benefits of the training.


After establishing who your audience is and why they need training you need to know what content you will be delivering and this starts by revisiting the first two questions. To be able to train efficiently and effectively you need to know your audience. How do they learn best and in what environment, and what do they already know and need training on? By doing this you can understand exactly the best method and environment to deliver the training content. Moreover, you know the knowledge gap and what content needs to be covered in the training session and what does not.

Regardless of what option you take, whether it is T&D, performance management or recruitment It is suggested that you ensure your plans are strategically aligned with the company goals and values. However, if you are seeking further advice on performance management or recruitment needs you are welcome to call our team of specialist consultants for a confidential discussion on 3228 8400.

Jacqui Prendergast

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