Have you had enough of training?

29th of September 2023
Have you had enough of training?

John Griep at VSR in the Netherlands on a survey suggesting cleaning staff are not keen to learn more.

Thirty-nine per cent of cleaning staff say they are not particularly willing to learn new things. This was revealed in a survey conducted by the Dutch Cleaning Industry Labour Relations Board in 2021.

At VSR, we find this hard to believe. We feel there is more to these numbers than meets the eye.
Time to exchange views with VSR members and market players. We did so by means of a webinar. This platform proved quite suitable for that purpose, even without a lockdown. Results from the survey provided discussion topics such as: do organisations prioritise training enough? Do the prerequisites for cleaning courses align with the target audience?

Participants in the discussion: our president, a representative of the Labour Relations Board and training managers from two cleaning companies. First, the professionals discussed how much of a priority it is for companies to train their employees.

Interestingly, 97 per cent of employers said they believe it is important for the subject of training to be part of performance reviews, while 87 per cent of the employees VSR spoke to did not have the same experience. These employees are aware there are training courses, but they say that the option to attend those courses is not discussed.

One of the conclusions drawn during the webinar was that managers often do not have much time to converse with employees. Their span of control is too wide.

There is another indicator that training is not always given the right priority. For example, when employees return to the workplace after the training course, they are told how great it is they went on the course, but please could they get back to work now.

In short: plenty of ammunition to get started on the theme of ‘prioritising training’.

The second question the professionals wanted to answer was: are the prerequisites for training adequately matched to the target audience?

One way to involve more people in basic training is to organise it at the workplace. This not only makes participating easier, it also means you can immediately put the basic skills covered in the course into practice. This prevents employees from feeling that what they learned isn’t how things are done at their workplace.

Know your employees

What I found remarkable was our webinar participants’ complaints about the route to the basic vocational training exam. Some training facilities compete with one another, and make the training courses as short (and as cheap) as possible. They focus only on making sure employees pass their exams. After that, they’re on their own. But the exam should be a means, not an end. Curtailing training courses reduces cleaners’ professional quality.

The conclusion? Our president summed it up very succinctly: know your employees. Engage in conversation. Discuss opportunities, but also listen to your employees to find out what obstacles and bottlenecks they are facing. By investing in this way, you’ll prevent an exodus of workers and absenteeism and recoup your investment. Not only financially, but also in the relationship with your workers.

 

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