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HR: Tracking Those Employee Details - Training and Certifications

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January 7, 2019

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In the story of the CFO and the CEO, the CFO asks, “What if we train them and they leave?” The CEO responds, “What if we don’t and they stay?”

We all know training employees is required. However, tracking training efforts is mundane and often done with little thought (if at all). This, coupled with the cost of good employee training programs often leads to complacency regarding corporate training programs. The truth is the proper tacking of employee training and certifications is how we know our employees are in compliance with not only state and industry regulations but also with contract requirements imposed by our clients.

The financial benefits of a good training management system safeguard our employer against rising insurance costs resulting from accidents and injuries, against fines from regulatory agencies and against lost sales resulting from breach of contract. So, if you had the opportunity to have all this compliance, training, and documentation available at a moment’s notice. Why wouldn’t you take advantage of it? The risks of not training your staff properly are many: poor customer service, customer complaints, increased safety costs (OSHA Fines, Worker’s Compensation Premiums) and team discourse to name a few.

Setting aside the financial gain of a good training program, you will also see some intangible results. Your employees will be more productive. There will be a consistent understanding of the “why” behind your company vision and retention will increase. To quote Sylvia Mathews Burwell, “Job training empowers people to realize their dreams and improve their lives.” In other words, your employees will appreciate it even if they give push back when asked to complete a course.

Some jobs require Continuing Education Unit’s (CEU’s) be tracked. Health Care Licenses, Teaching Certificates and Industry or Job Specific Certifications all require periodic CEU hours in order to renew. Companies have Onboarding and Compliance training requirements specific to their company and industry. Others have specific training required to allow employees to move within their ranks. All of these are reasons why a training management plan is needed.

Tracking is difficult - as is deciding where to start. The list of items below might remind you what things your company should be tracking:

 Driver License and Vehicle Insurance expiration dates – for employees who drive for the company; in cases where the employee drives a personal vehicle for business, employers may ask to be added to the employee’s vehicle insurance policy as an additional insured which will guarantee a notification if there is a lapse in coverage.

 Certification renewals – Doctors, nurses, accountants, first responders, insurance agents, HVAC techs, campus security and more all have certifications that will expire without approved Continuing Education.

 Continuing Education – HR will undoubtedly be asked to provide this back up for an employee if they unwittingly allow a certification to expire.

 Company Policy Acknowledgements – sexual harassment, drug and alcohol, company equipment usage, security and handbook acknowledgement forms should be tracked for easy reference.

 Visa/ Green Card renewals - resident Aliens must renew their documentation every 10 years and it is the employer’s responsibility to know the legal status of their employees. Tracking is important as renewal procedures begin at least 6 months prior to expiration.

As Brandon Webb has said, “Training programs shouldn’t be designed to deliver competence; they must be dedicated to producing excellence. Serious organizations don’t aspire to be comfortably above average.” In light of this, tracking these items on a spreadsheet or in a filing system is unacceptable. It relies on consistent manual intervention and monitoring and will barely scrape by as competent at best. Most HRIS systems in use today have an option to track training and certification items. It is often a matter of checking a box in the system setup or getting trained on the product.

Taking advantage of your Training Software capabilities will make quick work of your training administration. You could setup classes, manage the rosters, track the demand for each class and produce emails to your students (either those who have signed up for the class or those who are required to attend based on their job training requirements).

Job training requirements can be setup to track the employee’s progress through required courses and programs for a specific job. You can also use the tool to schedule employees for the required training classes as well as make sure the training is completed on time. Another benefit is your ability to establish a career path for employees consisting of particular courses which will be required for future roles in your organization. Thus, enabling pro-active employees the chance to become promotable as opportunities avail.

It’s always a good idea to know if the courses the employees are attending are cost effective. A good training system will allow you to track the training expenses and tie them back to employees, jobs, and departments. When analyzing the training costs, it is also possible to see if you have enough demand for non-required courses to determine the feasibility to internally conduct the class as scheduled.

“Developing skills is as important as training. A larger effort is needed to create a skilled workforce with employment potential.” – Pallam Raju.

Another part of a training system is the ability to track and report on employee skills. You can link training activities to specific skills which are updated as employees complete training courses. This creates a pool of skills which you can mine to know if your organization has the ability to take on specific activities. For example: an employee who is fluent in both written and spoken Korean would be key before deciding to take on a client located in South Korea.

Most training systems will allow you to define each user’s (or group of users’) access to information. This allows you to use front line data-entry personnel to manage the enrollment, communication and completion of training courses without exposing them to personal or financial information.

Company Policy Acknowledgments are very important in this #metoo world. To protect both you and your employer, you need to show the employee has been provided your policies on harassment, drug and alcohol policies as well as many other applicable policies. A training system will allow you to forward these documents electronically as well as to obtain electronic acknowledgements and signatures. You can even attach scanned copies of the signed paperwork if that is what you have available. Either way, the documentation is easily accessible and often you are able to report against it to know exactly where you stand when it comes to compliance.

Lastly, a quote from Queen Elizabeth II who ascended the throne of the United Kingdom at the wise old age of 25, “It’s all to do with training; you can do a lot if you’re properly trained.” With this in mind, one can assume that getting trained on your systems and tracking the training of your organization is well worth the effort.

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