In today's uncertain business climate, it is more important than ever to find the competitive edge that will allow your organisation to stay ahead of the pack.

Human resource managers and professionals are looking into unique training programmes to ensure best practices in organisations, because investing in people development is a top priority in today’s business environment.   

HR practitioners and managers are sending organisations a strong signal that this is the best way to engage people and ensure they contribute effectively to the organisation’s goals and mission.

Training and development programmes also help to attract and retain talent. To that end, HR practitioners also advocate prudence in implementing interventions that may bring about short-term gain but long-term pain.

For example, when organisations face difficult times, there is the temptation to cut back on essential areas like training and start laying off workers. How does this affect the business in the long term, if staff morale is low and the organisation has a negative reputation as an employer?

By committing to a consistent investment in training and people-oriented development, organisations can then look at alternative ways to bring about positive change.

Several organisations I have worked with are strong advocates for investing in training and developing people skills, as they believe that these two elements are vital to attract and retain the best talents.

Training and development programmes need to focus on areas that are critical for the long-term success of an organisation:

•   Building employee motivation

•   Increasing work productivity and performance

•   Developing effective people skills

•   Increasing organisational cohesion

•   Building a more dynamic and profitable organisation through effective leadership; and

•   Improving core competencies in critical areas of sales, marketing and finance.

Using the companies I worked with as case studies, the proposed intervention and action steps to achieve the above organisational goals were executed in three different phases:

Phase 1

Understanding and redefining corporate culture

These organisations consistently revisited this area of competence and redefined their strategic planning system, their corporate values, mission and vision.

In addition, they paid attention to mastering negotiation skills for conflict resolution, realigned individual employees’ values to fit corporate needs and implemented a new performance management system to increase organisational cohesion.

A crucial step was to create an objective performance appraisal system to build employees’ motivation, and to establish a system of incentives and rewards for all employees.

Understanding the concept of cultivating empowering skills in the organisation and stressing the importance of ownership was also another vital critical success factor for these organisations.

Phase 2

Building employee motivation and increasing productivity

What did these organisations do to build their employees’ intrinsic motivation and increase work productivity? They invested heavily in various training and development programmes and took the initiative to look into the personality profiling of each employee, leveraging their strengths in job functions which best suited their character, personality and capability.

Critically, training programmes enhanced the skill sets and work attitudes of employees, preparing them better for the roles they would play in the organisation. For example, after training, employees were involved in the following activities: 

•   Delegating responsibilities and practising transformational leadership;

•   Opportunities to unleash their highest potential;

•   Improving their communication skills at all levels of the organisational hierarchy; and

•   Coordinating team-building projects to enhance camaraderie among management and employees.

Phase 3

Motivating  employees to improve their general skill sets

To improve employees’ general skill sets and keep them engaged and motivated to perform well, the training and development programmes targeted several areas:

•   Improving customer service and relationship management (CRM);

•   Elevating business etiquette and professionalism within the organisation;

•   Cultivating an empowering skills’ mindset to gain trust and confidence from the management;

•   Fostering team spirit and discipline through team building projects;

•   Understanding and appreciating the different cultures of employees in the organisation; and

•   Implementing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to motivate each employee to perform and rewarding them accordingly to keep them happy and motivated.

Studies show that employees perform best when given the opportunity to excel in their roles and responsibilities. One of the best ways to achieve this is to invest in their training and development and truly make them assets to the organisation.


Article by Jeffrey Herbert Williams, a professional trainer and coach with Excellence Edge International. He has conducted various training courses on emotional intelligence and people skills. For more information, visit