Developing a Learning Culture

How to Use The Golden Rule for the Perfect Training Balance

If the golden rule is “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” then why are so many learners forced to go through mandatory training that only serves to benefit their organization? Sure, improvement on a company-wide level is important, but it can also seem self-serving–and not for the individual.

Whether you’re an employee or a manager, there’s a better golden rule to follow when it comes to creating the perfect balance. It can’t be just about making the company better, but also must be about development on an individual level as well. Approach your training with this formula in mind and you’ll reap the benefits for everyone involved.

If you find yourself with a team full of Millennials, check out our ebook Managing Millennials here.

Job-Based Skills: 70 Percent

Whatever an employee needs to be better at his or her job, it should take up about 70 percent their time. After all, the organization does need to see significant improvement from the training or learning–otherwise, why train at all? Just remember that job-based skills aren’t just compliance topics, and can include things like soft skills (think communication and personability) as well as safety training, team-building sessions, and role-specific training sessions.

Aspirational Job Skills: 20 Percent

If job-based skills make for better employees today, aspirational training makes for a better employee tomorrow. Maybe you (or one of the learners you manage) want to move up the leadership chain or you’re hoping to hop to another department.

Offering aspirational-based training lets learners take a peek into what it’s like to work in different roles or how to take on different responsibilities. What’s more, it places a certain amount of trust and transparency in the hands of anyone who wants it: anyone can access the information they need to make improvements and get the training they want to move forward with their career goals.

Personal Interest and Development: 10 Percent

We’ve often cited the Google Rule that 20 percent of employee time should be devoted to pet projects. It’s the policy that gave us Google News and a slew of other Google products. And, while Google has since suspended the policy, there’s still merit in taking at least 10 percent for individual development and interests. It’s that little slice of time that keeps employees motivated and interested and can lead to more well-rounded, more satisfied workers.

It doesn’t need to be formal training when it comes to personal interest; YouTube, books, and online courses work well and won’t eat into other learning time.

No matter what your role, striking the right training balance means checking in regularly with leadership (and definitely more than just one annual performance review). By having frank conversations about current roles and career aspirations, it’s easier to configure training that works for everyone. How’s that for a golden rule?