Shelley Frosdick, Managing Director of The PHA Group
It’s no secret that staff training has had to evolve in many ways over the course of the pandemic, bringing with it plenty of new challenges – but also valuable opportunities for improvement. At The PHA Group, we recently launched the PHAcademy, a comprehensive training programme that is tailored for the various roles within our business.
Introducing a formal training programme during the homeworking period has provided staff with a valuable sense of consistency when it comes to their career progression which whilst always critical, has become even more important over the pandemic. Working remotely has lead to less face time with colleagues and managers so creating moments to improve skills and engage with colleagues has become a significant focus.
There are several benefits to a formal training programme – as opposed to one-off or ad hoc sessions; it ties into employees’ progression plans and ensures consistent standards at each level, but also encourages knowledge-sharing across the business.
Our training programme uses a combination of internal and external trainers. This means we can encourage learning from peers who can offer a different perspective based on experience, as well as industry experts that can support with specific areas that you don’t have expertise on from inside the business. External trainers provide a fresh perspective – and can offer a non-biased point of view on challenges staff may be facing.
As part of any training programme it is worthwhile emphasising the importance of following up and setting tangible objectives after any training, so sessions can be evolved if needed. We of course want people to understand the value of training, but it is also helpful to ensure that the standard of training is consistent. With an increased focus on monitoring the effectiveness of the training we deliver, we can ensure every session is as effective as possible. For each session, our training team share a clear objective and invite staff to feedback, information that is then shared with the trainer and Senior Leadership Team.
In the wake of a permanent hybrid working culture, we must consider the future of staff training and what needs implementing long-term to compliment this shift. Knowing that remote meetings are here to stay, we have launched specific training around how to have impact on Zoom calls and pitches, a totally different skill set to in-person meetings. It’s key to tailor staff training programmes based on current ways of working – and employers should be ready to adapt these as and when things further evolve.
Lastly, aside from skill-based sessions, it’s also very important to put an emphasis on training in broader cultural skills; around mental health & wellbeing, diversity & inclusion, sustainability and more – which ultimately demonstrates an employer’s respect and support for all elements of an individual’s life, not just work. We have a comprehensive training programme as part of our Diversity & Inclusion activity, working with a series of external trainers to educate and encourage conversations around diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We have also just announced a new series of financial wellness training that will launch in the new year, a time when budgeting is always high on the agenda. Led by a financial advisor, these sessions have been tailored to specific areas that we know our employees will want to receive more insight and guidance on. Training such as this allows us to demonstrate to staff our commitment to the broader issues that we know matter to them, alongside their career development. I would encourage all employers to look at their training offering and asking themselves if it is broad enough.
By ensuring training is both tailored to the individual and where they are in their career – but also offering broader industry and culture training that is open to all – companies are able to provide a more well-rounded programme that equips staff with both the hard and soft skills they need to thrive.