The Value of Training

Since starting to work in compliance recruitment around five years ago, I have seen a change in the behaviours and attitudes of many organisations when it comes to hiring.  

When I first started in this line of work, the demand for highly qualified and experienced compliance professionals was very high.  Companies wanted to buy in expertise.  Now in fact it’s quite the opposite.  Businesses are looking to hire a much higher percentage of junior to mid-level individuals, rather than simply buy in the expertise from outside and graft it onto existing team structures.  

Why?  From a company’s point of view, the less experience you have, the cheaper you are to hire.  But money is not the core reason, in my view.  Companies are beginning to understand the value of training staff, of continued development internally.  They want to train new employees from scratch – to progress and develop individuals from within – in other words to follow an organic model of growth.  

Organic growth 

You might be reading this thinking, what on earth does organic growth even mean?  Well, organic growth is the growth rate that a company can achieve by increasing output internally.  In basic terms, it’s the expansion of a firm using its own resources to boost productivity and profitability.  Clearly, this involves creating structures and systems that engage all staff, the establishment of a common culture and shared language that embodies the spirit of the firm’s own organic growth model, and it must be led from the top.  So, what do you need to put in place to succeed with this model?

Training and the Organic Growth Model

Key to this progression, to its success, in my view is training.

Personally, I have always seen the value in this approach, which is probably part of the reason why I have now moved from a recruitment role in to a Training & Development role!  

Not only does training, and the potential it creates for internal promotion, enhance self-worth, it also allows employees to see ahead, to plan a career path in terms of their own personal growth, crucially, within the company they have joined.

When employees aren’t becoming bored, when they are learning new skills, when they are constantly faced with new challenges, staff retention improves.  And the culture of the company remains energetic and engaged which makes for an attractive workplace environment and builds and reinforces that all-important corporate loyalty.

It’s also important to note that this emphasis on training isn’t just aimed at the inexperienced and, for the organic growth model to be successful, it shouldn’t be confined to newbies.  As Albert Einstein said: “Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.”  Henry Ford was more blunt. “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young,” he said.
 
Or to put it another way, it doesn’t do to get complacent just because you are a deputy head of or even a head of department and to take the view that that training shouldn’t have to apply to you.  The significance of learning is that it never stops and, within the organic model properly applied, senior staff will be enhancing their skills through training throughout their career and, as a result, helping to boost the sustainability of their company.

In my opinion, the most successful organisations (and this applies across multiple industries) are open-minded, willing to take on change.  This means they are constantly evolving and adapting but without destroying core culture along the way.

A world of no training

Imagine.  A world without training.  How would that look?  Well, in all honesty it would be complete and utter chaos out there!  You arrive at a company and you are thrown in the deep end.  It’s sink or swim.  Well, you want to swim so you use all the resources available to you – you copy other people, you try anything that might work.  It’s stressful, you might pick up bad habits and bad practices that will not benefit you or the company and could be disastrous.  You might leave.

I know what you are all thinking, it takes time to train employees, and time is money, money wasted.  Well actually, no.  The real question businesses should be asking themselves is what is the cost if you don’t train an employee?  

The challenge in today’s business world is that some companies are still stuck in the old mindset of seeing training merely as an expense, not as an investment.  What needs to be realised is that an “untrained” employee will a) inevitably not have the knowledge to use company resources properly and b) probably not feel valued enough to stay loyal to the firm.

Investing in training is, of course, an expense but failing to do so in today’s world is, in my opinion, a risky business strategy.  And the rewards – in terms of business profitability and strong, sustainable growth – are clear to see.  The concept of training is transferable across all industries.  It is disappointing that there are companies out there who are continuing to hire someone to do a job and don’t really care that they will move on quite quickly because there is no organic growth model with the appropriate training/skills development/career structure in place.  How long will it be before these companies realise the impact this short-term thinking has?

What can you train in?

In short, the answer is anything.  Whether it’s internally at work or something you are passionate about outside of work, there is almost an 100% guarantee that you will be able to do some sort of training and that it will have some kind of benefit to your employability.

Want to learn how to scuba dive?  Go to Barracuda Point and take some lessons (yes, this has been voted the number one scuba diving point in the world by scuba aficionados). 

Specifically, in compliance, you want to become a specialist in a particular area of compliance?  Try the ICA intermediate qualifications.  You want to move over to compliance? Well the ICA has the training opportunities you need to make the move into this new field.  

Some questions answered – ICA qualifications 

I thought it would be helpful to include some advice if you are thinking of completing an ICA qualification.  Believe it or not, I have been asked each and every one of the questions below at least once.  

“I’m a lawyer and want to go in to compliance, which qualification should I do?” 
Depending on your current level of compliance knowledge, there are a few that could be relevant to you.   There is an Advanced Certificate in Legal Compliance that could be beneficial, or if your knowledge isn’t up to that level, consider the Certificate in Compliance.

“I am currently working in the police force and I would like to get into financial crime, how do I do that?”
It really depends on which aspect of financial crime you want to go into.  There are numerous qualifications based around anti-corruption, combating the financing of terrorism, AML and fraud.  Any of the qualifications would enhance your employment prospects, but it really depends on which one floats your boat!

“I’ve just finished university and I’m on track to get a 2:1 in Criminology, what could I do to improve my chances of getting a job in this line of work straight away?”
The beauty of the ICA is that there are various levels of qualification available.  So, for someone at this level, I would recommend an introductory qualification – consider, perhaps, the Certificate in AML, or the Certificate in Financial Crime Prevention.

“I’m highly experienced in my current role and head up the compliance department but I am keen to continue learning, is there anything that I can do to enhance my compliance knowledge further?”
Yes!  Consider the Professional Postgraduate Diploma in Governance, Risk and Compliance – it has been specifically designed for senior industry practitioners.

“Are the qualifications face to face or can you do them online too?”
You have a mixture of face to face, online and in-house, so there is a method to suit all!

Summary

Training and continuing qualifications to enhance career prospects are becoming an increasingly significant part of modern business.  Although there are exceptions, the business model which values training – to maintain growth and retain staff – is rapidly becoming the norm.  When you are considering taking on a new role, check out the training process:  it will tell you a lot about the company you are thinking of joining.  Is it forward thinking, committed to staff development or stuck in an outmoded business model based on the individual’s ability merely to get on with the job?  I know which model I would choose.  Do you?


About the Author:

Keeley Fitzsimmons
Training and Development Manager
Broadgate Search
www.broadgatesearch.com/

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