In educational management and other areas of management, professional training, whether home grown or externally organized, is seen as a reliable way to improve work performance, individual effectiveness and productivity.
As a result, professional training and development have become big business in their own right. At any given moment large numbers of employees are undergoing training sessions of various types. Training generally improves work performance. This has been proved by the measurement of performance gains through pre- and post-training assessments of skills and knowledge in teaching and in many other professions and occupations. Training should bring about behavioural change in the workplace.
For training to be as effective as possible, it must be designed to be relevant to institutional needs and staff needs. Staff in training must be able to see benefits from the training and it must be suited to their skill levels. They also need to see the link between training, better job performance, and increased productivity.
The goal is to achieve as much training transfer as possible. Training transfer is the application of skills and information learned in training, to the job or workplace. Trained individuals usually improve their effectiveness and productivity and should be allowed to instruct others in the workplace in order to spread the gains as widely as possible. Management should allow them to do the things they learned during training or there will be very little transfer of training and much frustration.
In spite of all that is stated above, in some cases professional training may not lead to the hoped for training transfer and improved performance in the workplace. This may happen if staff morale is too low as a result of unresolved conflict between administration and staff. It can also occur among individual staff members who display a poor work ethic and negative attitudes to work or low commitment levels, for whatever reason. Sometimes faulty socialization in staff common rooms or the adoption of personal agendas which are not in accordance with institutional policy may prevent training from having the desired effect. A few persons may be attracted to training because of the opportunities it offers for promotion and increased salaries rather than through a burning desire to improve their immediate work performance.
For professional training to work optimally, leaders and managers must foster teamwork, practice shared leadership, demonstrate emotional and social intelligence in the workplace and do everything possible to reduce conflict and polarization among staff at all levels. Staff engagement is vital.