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4 Skills Your Employees Really Want to Learn… But are Afraid to Tell You About

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A sound internal training and development scheme is important for every company if it wants to maintain an excellent workforce – and employees are usually grateful if you, the HR manager, or you, the people manager, offer them opportunities to develop their skills. However, there’s a catch… 


The catch:

The top learning needs of most employees are not what many managers believe them to be. Often managers think people want to learn all about “secrets of successful people”, “how to learn from the best”, and so on. That’s a misconception. What many employees want more than anything are skills that help them cope with their everyday struggles.


1. Time and task management

Many people struggle with organizing the tasks they are assigned within an efficient way – and more often than not, they won’t admit that: Being able to work in a structured and coherent manner sounds like a very basic skill. And everyone else seems to be getting along just fine, don’t they? As a consequence, people don’t voice their learning needs in this regard. You’ll be surprised how grateful – even relieved – your employees will react if you encourage everyone to make use of your training opportunities in this area.


2. Emotional wellbeing

Everyone experiences challenging situations at work sometimes. Those can be conflicts with colleagues, stage fright because of an imminent presentation, stress because of a heavy workload or an upcoming deadline, or expectations that seem impossible to meet. If people haven’t learned how to deal with those situations adequately, it can lead to lower productivity, decreased self-motivation – and, eventually, to burnout. Unfortunately, this is something of a taboo topic: People don’t like to show their weaknesses, especially in front of their superiors.


3. Intrinsic motivation and goal setting

As an employer, you want your workforce to be as productive as possible. But employees want to be productive, too – and they will thank you if you help them feel motivated and engaged. There are multiple factors that contribute to a productive working environment: Having an inspirational and comprehensible corporate vision is one factor. Another one is teaching your employees how they can set meaningful goals for themselves, e.g. by using the popular SMART methodology.


4. Yes, really: Microsoft Excel

In most office jobs across departments and disciplines, people use Excel. And more often than not, they have no idea what they’re doing. They either use it for the wrong things (meeting minutes, anyone?) or for the right things, but inefficiently. And of course, most people are painfully aware of their own inadequacies: What’s a pivot table again? How do you set up a macro? And am I the only one who cannot use any functions besides “sum”? If you offer basic and advanced Excel classes in your company, people will be grateful beyond your imagination.


Training and development

If you want to offer training and development programs that really make a difference, you need to uncover your employees’ real needs and help them master their everyday challenges. To do that, start by offering those usual suspects described above – and then encourage people to tell you more openly about their other important learning needs.


Do you need support with implementing a successful training and development scheme?

Feel free to get in touch – we’re happy to help: Contact Jan van Schuppen (Strategic Solutions Director)

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