Training and development

Companies have different ways of identifying what kind of training is best suited to the organisation and its various departments. Delving into what the secret ingredient is to nurture a healthy corporate training culture, speaks to two leading businesses known for their avant-garde approach.

Jean Portughes
Jean Portughes / LinkedIn

One local business with a strong sense of investment in their employees through development is Portughes Drycleaning. Speaking to, Jean Portughes, Operations Manager at the company explained how members of staff are trained “at least twice or three times a year” because management believes this is how employees stay up to date with customer expectations and industry trends.

Delving into the training structure adopted by the company, Mr Portughes explained that “all departments receive training. Each department receives general training and then individual departmental training to explore what difficulties they usually face and how to go about solving them further.”

Mr Portughes believes that it is extremely important for employees to learn from one another during seminar discussions and for them to share experiences and examples of best practice.

Denise Cortis
Denise Cortis / LinkedIn

For supermarket chain Arkadia, an enforced stop to their Gozo operations paved the way for an extensive and holistic training exercise for staff. In her comments to Arkadia Head of HR Denise Cortis explained how the company had to close Arkadia Shopping complex in Gozo while the building was being renovated.

“We took the opportunity and during this period employees underwent a full training programme which enabled us to literally change Arkadia into an academy and retain all our members of staff,” Ms Cortis said. During this period, “employees were not only given the usual training sessions in subjects related to their work, but they were given sessions on their well-being and mental health too.”

Throughout this period Arkadia also took the opportunity to mix the Gozo and Malta teams by getting members of staff to do some work in the shops in Malta. “This united the teams more,” Ms Cortis explained.

The Head of HR explained how this exercise enabled the company to retain all employees, which averted the company from facing a challenging recruitment process given the lack of staff across several industries.. “Since no employee was made redundant, they saw the importance that as employers our priority is to safeguard their employment,” Ms Cortis added whilst explaining that this mentality is, very likely, what has led to most of the employees at Arkadia having been with them for more than 10 years.

Asked about the methodology used to identify training needs, Ms Cortis explained that this is normally done through performance appraisals and feedback, and that as a company, they are constantly investing in their employees and training them because they firmly believe that “when an employer invests in an employee, the employer will be remembered for that experience and the employee will always connect that experience with that particular company,” hence improving employee engagement and retention rates.


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