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The need for training

Good communications and consultation are essential for efficient operation in any organisation. However, their impact is often diminished by a lack of skill or knowledge on the part of the participants. It is important, therefore, to provide both managers and employees with training in the skills and techniques required for communication and consultation.

Training can help employees better understand the information they are given and can encourage them to play a fuller part in the way the organisation conducts its affairs. Training courses in particular can be a useful way of giving employees factual information about their employment because they necessarily include a substantial element of explanation and provide opportunities for questions to be answered.

Managers have an important role to play in communicating and consulting and good training can enable them to:

  • become more aware of the importance of good communication and consultation practice
  • understand their roles and responsibilities as communicators
  • support those who are less outspoken and improve their ability to communicate.

Training is particularly important for supervisors who have important communications responsibilities but often limited experience. Communication and consultation skills should have a place in any development programme for them as well as for other managers.

Trade unions should also ensure that they provide adequate training for their representatives to enable them to take a full part in employee communications and consultation.

Wherever possible training should be participative and trainees should be encouraged to exchange views, take part in discussions and share ideas and experiences. Such participation not only makes for more effective training but also helps to foster the idea of employee involvement which is an underlying principle of consultation and communication.

It is good practice to evaluate periodically the effectiveness of any training undertaken.

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