Hello, and welcome back to this next TomCast from GuardSight, an Iron Bow Technologies company; we are a tactical cybersecurity-as-a-service organization dedicated to helping businesses protect their data, their assets, and their endpoints.

Today we’re going to discuss training. A rather broad topic, but some ideas that should be thought about when approaching this topic within your various organizations and industries. How do you all approach training? Does your organization look at it as an annual requirement that your employees begrudgingly complete so the box can be checked? Or does your organization use it as it is intended, as a continuous learning opportunity to keep ahead of the trends, roles, and responsibilities within the business?

Training, continuous learning, continued education, these are terms that I see throughout many organizations as barely scratching the surface of what should be. Now, this is an opinion and I understand that not everyone shares this opinion, so listen and draw your own conclusions. Some organizations look at continuing one’s education as the individual’s responsibility and must be done on their own time. Richard Branson had an excellent response to a question regarding training ones’ employees. He was asked what happens if you train your employees and they leave. His response was “what if we don’t train them and they stay?”

Let that sink in for a moment. Don’t put any resources out there to train your workforce. Can you even imagine the overall lack of knowledge and skill you and your organization would be faced with? Especially in this age of technology where solutions and applications evolve so quickly, that approach spells doom for the organization.

Now, moving to another style or type of organizational approach to training is the check-the-box compliant organizations. These are the ones that proudly display their metrics of “x-percentage of employees have met the annual requirements, so we should be trusted to handle your data/services/contracts/whatever”. My experience with organizations like these is that the training materials are not updated frequently, they are recycled each year, enforced as mandates and employees are punished if the training is not completed in the specified windows permitted.

How, exactly, does that spark a thirst for knowledge, a willingness to expand one’s intelligence, or an increase in preparedness for organizational roles and responsibilities? It has the polar opposite affect. People take the training, are relieved the annual burden has been lifted, and they move along with little retention of the material. This style of mandated training is almost akin to not training people at all.

How about organizations embrace the need to keep skills current? What if organizations out there actually baked into their budgets training of their people, but allowed their people to weigh in on what THEY need? Granted, keeping things in perspective (I am not meaning someone getting a degree paid for that has absolutely nothing to do with their organizational duties), but it should be a collaborative effort between the employees and organizational leadership.

Recognition of effort goes a lot farther than punishments for non-compliance. Instead of looking for ways to make training a cuss word, how about flipping the script and getting the employee base interested and engaged in the training? Update the training that may be mandated for compliance into a version or method that meets several different learning styles versus one. Some may get quite a bit from lecture-style presentations, others may benefit more from gamification of training. Understanding the workforce in your organization and how they learn will help the overall development of training materials and methods.

Bottom line, engage with your people, empower them to WANT to continue learning, to continue their educational journeys so that they can improve their professional careers. GuardSight and Iron Bow do just that; they embrace their employees’ desires for furthering their education and do what they can to recognize achievements. This is one major reason they have such a highly skilled and dedicated workforce. Reach out to us if you want to learn more about continuous education and how to empower your organizational workforces.

We here at GuardSight and Iron Bow thank you for taking the time to listen to this TomCast. For more information on various cybersecurity tips head on over to our website and check out more TomCasts. Those are located over on www.guardsight.com/tomcast. Or, if you would like more information on what GuardSight or Iron Bow can do for you, head on over to www.guardsight.com or www.ironbow.com and contact us. There are several free cybersecurity tools out there that can help you improve your overall security posture. We’d love to hear from you! Thanks!