Managers, already suffering from burnout, do not necessarily have time to analyze many government support programs. (Photo: 123RF)
fuRMATION. There are many government programs to support business training. However, it can be difficult to navigate and ensure that the best training is chosen to improve the skills of its workers.
According to a survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) conducted in February 2020, 44% of 1,110 SME managers surveyed in Quebec do not use government measures that affect the workforce, including those that promote training. Among the respondents, 40% indicated that ignorance or complexity of these programs is an obstacle to their use (33%). “You have to put yourself in the shoes of business leaders, when between 89% and 96% of companies in the province have fewer than 50 employees,” said François Vincent, vice president of Quebec at CFIB. He believes that managers, already suffering from burnout, do not necessarily have time to dissect everything.
Dennis Hamel, vice president for workforce development policies at Conseil du patronat du Québec (CPQ), actually identifies about a dozen programs to help train the company at the provincial level. Some, such as the Workplace Professional Training Program (PAMT), support mentoring, while others, such as the Workforce Training Measure (MFOR), cover a portion of an employee’s salary. employee in training. Not to mention the occasional actions that have been added. “It can be difficult to navigate, because each program has its own characteristics,” notes Dennis Hamel.
Measures to know
A reality noted on the ground by the Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity, Jean Boulet. “I try to promote the various measures, but I realize that they are often not well known, he says. I met entrepreneurs who told me, for example, that they did not know that during the reorganization of work aimed at increasing productivity, they could receive subsidies for training their employees.”
The minister insists on the importance of the 254 business advisors located in the 163 Quebec service offices, the “gateway” to companies wanting to get support.
He notes that since January 2019, the role of these advisors has been “changed”, becoming “real advisors” to companies. “They can support them in their efforts to recruit and anticipate manpower or human resources and this gives very good results with SMEs,” stresses Jean Boulet.
CFIB also provides support services to entrepreneurs, while sector workforce committees sometimes offer training programmes. “Organizations can also look at what is happening in their community, as there are many initiatives in collaboration with universities, CEGEPs and vocational schools,” says Manon Poirier, executive director of the Certified Human Resource Consultants Association (CRHA) in Quebec.
Make the right choices
In addition to the financial aspect, managers should also think about the content of training that will be offered to their employees. And it’s not that simple. “Even this is a challenge for many small and medium businesses that do not have HR professionals to support them and to make sure they are making the right choices,” says Manon Poirier. However, it is possible for members of the order to act as advisors to these companies. “They can help them make the correct diagnosis and include the offer that is available.”
In fact, without outside eyes, it’s easy to get the wrong target, she warns. We must also ensure that a more global view of reality is developed in order to achieve the company’s goals. Thus, HR professionals have all the tools available to assess return on investment in productivity, for example.
Crucially, with 91% of companies across the country seeing training as an important investment for their business, CFIB has already taken the measure. François Vincent thinks the data dates back to 2014, but gives a good idea of reality. To get a clear picture of the situation, the CFIB then conducted a survey of the owners of member SMEs from all regions of the country and all sectors of the economy, in which 6705 participants took part. This research was able to measure that companies have invested $14 billion (one billion) in training, including $5 billion in formal training. We could read that “39% of managers also claimed not to invest in formal training because it was too expensive.”
This once again demonstrates the importance of establishing the correct diagnosis and having a skill development plan with specific performance indicators. This is one way to ensure a good return on investment. “The fact of internships also makes it possible to meet certain needs without the need for recruitment,” Manon Poirier recalls. In addition, it helps to retain workers and increase their sense of loyalty.” These are all assets in the context of labor shortages.