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In today’s episode of ‘From the eLearning Trenches,’ we asked one of our learners to provide feedback on their firm’s policies for staff training. What formal training is provided to team members? Is this sufficient for their professional development needs? Do they also engage in their own professional development?

Learner Reflection

I feel that our firm’s in house learning and training processes are virtually non-existent.

I know from my own personal experience when I started with the company there was no formal training provided as I was thrown straight into work, no buddy system, no outline of my actual job role and no procedure manuals in place to assist me with how to complete tasks.

 I was very much left to my own devices, as other staff members were so overloaded with work they were unable to assist me with training needs and I felt that I was left to figure things out on my own or was shown once and was expect to know it.

I also know that I am not an isolated incident, as through my industry and social connections, I have had the opportunity to speak to three former employees and all have expressed that they had the same experience and that this was a high factor as to why all three left within a 6-month period.

Staff members are encouraged to engage in further professional development studies but there is very little support or resources offered to assist or guide them through this process.

I feel that the firm’s current “sink or swim” approach to in house training and learning is not sufficient for staff members professional development needs and needs to be reviewed.

Feedback from our experts

The learner describes a typical situation in a small professional service firm where new employees are essentially required to learn ‘on the job.’ Sure, there may be some training in the firm’s systems and procedures, this is mandatory! However, when it comes to firm approach to clients and workflow, or the way the team works, or expectations in relation to performance, discussions generally happen on an ad hoc basis when the need arises.

The outcome of a poor induction process is that new employees feel that they are struggling from day 1 to understand how the firm works. The lost productivity, motivation and outputs can be significant, not taking into account issues with staff disengagement and possible resignation.

This often extends to ongoing professional development where staff are solely responsible for their own training, with some input from monthly technical sessions.

Effective internal and external training should be linked to personal goals and performance objectives. Clear expectations in relation to training CPD hours should be in place. A combination of firm-driven training and personal development should be encouraged. Both technical and non-technical skills development are essential.

Key initial actions to consider:

  1. Needs Assessment and Goal Setting

Conduct a thorough needs assessment to identify the specific skill gaps and professional development needs of your employees. This can be done through surveys, interviews, or performance evaluations. Based on the findings, set clear goals and objectives for the training program. Align these goals with the long-term vision and strategic objectives of the firm. This step ensures that the training program addresses the specific needs of the employees and contributes to their overall growth and the firm’s success.

  1. Design and Delivery of a Comprehensive Training Program

Identify training courses and modules that encompass a wide range of topics relevant to the accounting profession. These modules should cover technical accounting skills, industry-specific knowledge, as well as soft skills such as communication, leadership, and problem-solving. Utilise a variety of training methods such as workshops, seminars, e-learning platforms, and mentorship programs to cater to different learning styles and preferences. Incorporate interactive and practical elements into the training sessions to enhance engagement and knowledge retention. It is crucial to regularly update and refine the training content to keep pace with the evolving industry trends and regulatory requirements.

  1. Establish a Culture of Continuous Learning and Support

    Foster a culture of continuous learning and professional growth within the firm. Encourage employees to take ownership of their development by providing opportunities for self-directed learning, such as access to online resources, industry conferences, and professional certifications. Create a supportive environment that promotes knowledge sharing, collaboration, and mentoring among employees. Consider implementing a mentorship program where experienced professionals can guide and support junior staff. Provide regular feedback and recognition for employee achievements in their professional development journey. This culture of continuous learning not only enhances the skills and expertise of individual employees but also contributes to the overall knowledge and competitiveness of the firm.

Who is responsible for your firm’s learning policy?

This assessment task and response is taken from the Ultimate Practice Manager eLearning Course. Click here to explore this course

Also, take a look at the Team Leader Masterclass eLearning Course

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