How can the right training affect employee “performance”? | EAPA-SA

Workplace training refers, in one aspect, to the programmes an organisation conducts to help employees to develop the skills, competencies, and knowledge required for a particular job, and so make them capable of fulfilling their professional functions to an acceptable standard. But, does this training, designed to support performance excellence, inevitably lead to higher levels of productivity?

Performance and productivity are not the same thing

There is a distinct difference between performance and productivity. 

  • Performance is the process of carrying out an action, completing a task or fulfilling a function to accomplish it in keeping with the standards and expectations of an organisation, as measured against predetermined job criteria, such as KPIs or departmental goals. However, a high performance standard does not necessarily mean that an employee has produced sufficient work output in exchange for their time. It means they produced something to a particular standard. 
  • Productivity, on the other hand, concentrates on the level of output that is produced. Consider the reality that performance can improve at the expense of productivity.

“There is a distinct difference between performance and productivity.”

“…employees should, usually, be working at only about 70 percent of their total capacity for better productivity…”

Is maximum productivity only really achieved at the expense of work-life balance?

Productivity growth is essential if organisations want to grow their profitability. Yet, productivity does not improve through employees working to 100% capacity throughout the working day and week. The 70 percent rule, in a business context, is a time management principle which suggests that employees should, usually, be working at only about 70 percent of their total capacity for better productivity, engagement and work-life balance. 

According to the 70 percent rule, employees are more productive when they work at a less intense pace for most of the time, not when they are working as hard as they can all the time. In this way, they have the capacity to respond and step up the pace when demands are temporarily increased, whereas an employee who is already working full-out is incapable of producing any more. Such situations lead to stress and burnout.

Training to help support employee productivity

The primary goal of a business leader is to help employees achieve maximum productivity – including all that this entails. This is only achieved by making a genuine effort toward employee motivation and growth, both at a personal and professional level. Business specialists recommend that employers should regularly train their workers on why and how to improve their productivity. This includes training them in acquiring new skills, the mastery of their own time and efforts, and engaging their hearts and minds in order to inspire them to productivity. 


Here are five types of training that will help you boost employee productivity in your company:

1. Leadership training

Even if an employee does not lead a team of employees, leadership skills are important skills for them to have, because a skilled leader is able to bring out the best abilities in their team members and motivate them to work together to achieve a shared goal. Employees who train as leaders know the importance of transparency, diligence, and trustworthiness. Leadership training widens thinking abilities to help employees think in innovative and creative ways. Such training satisfies a desire for career growth and gives employees the hope that through hard work, they stand a chance of rising through the ranks.


2. Cross-training and development

Cross-training equips employees with the skills needed across multiple roles and departments within an organisation. It is a win-win situation: one on one hand it enables an employee to wear multiple hats when the need arises and to perform a variety of roles within the organisation. Then, if an employee decides to leave the organisation, there is the in-house talent to occupy the vacant position while the right replacement employee is found. On the other hand, when employees acquire the skills to hold different positions and are able to use them on a regular rotational basis it is stimulating and wards off the monotony of one job. In an employee’s eyes it shows that their employer believes in their ability and cares about their eligibility for employment across multiple job descriptions. This strengthens employee engagement. 


4. Time management training

Offer your employees training in time management if you want them to get a handle on their workload and achieve more within the prescribed hours they are at work. The core skills of time management include scheduling, prioritisation and focus. This training inspires and equips employees to be more effective in their designated role, deal with challenges of workplace interruptions, and set achievable goals.

“Offer your employees training in time management if you want them to get a handle on their workload and achieve more…”

5. Teamwork training

When employees work well together as a team and everyone commits to common goals, the individual performance of every employee involved with the group increases. In a team, workload is shared among diverse team members with different expertise and skill sets. Members combine these skills to do a better job, together, in a shorter time frame than a single person ever could. Teamwork is the backbone of employee engagement.

6. Emotional intelligence training

Emotional intelligence begins with self-awareness, which involves knowing one’s emotions, motivations and blind spots, and how these will affect everyone in one’s team. Having emotional intelligence is, in part, the ability to analyse one’s emotions without allowing them to interfere with your better judgment. Employees who are trained on emotional intelligence are able to make informed decisions and live in harmony and tolerance, and to trust their colleagues. Their emotional awareness helps them develop healthy workplace relationships and control their reactions when dealing with difficult clients.



Photo by Jan van der Wolf