Sustainable Agriculture Institute

Training and Development Policy

 

Policy brief & purpose

Our Employee Development Policy refers to the company’s learning and development programs and activities.

In the modern competitive environment, employees need to replenish their knowledge and acquire new skills to do their jobs better. This will benefit both them and the company. We want them to feel confident about improving efficiency and productivity, as well as finding new ways towards personal development and success.

 

Scope

This policy applies to all permanent, full-time or part-time, employees of the company. Employees with temporary/short-term contracts might attend trainings at their manager’s discretion.

This policy doesn’t cover supplementary employees like contractors or consultants.

 

Policy elements

Employees, managers and Human Resources (HR) should all collaborate to build a continuous professional development (CPD) culture. It’s an employee’s responsibility to seek new learning opportunities. It’s a manager’s responsibility to coach their teams and identify employee development needs. And it’s HR’s responsibility to facilitate any staff development activities and processes.

 

What do we mean by training and development?

In general, we approve and encourage the following employee trainings:

  • Formal training sessions (individual or corporate)
  • Employee Coaching and Mentoring
  • Participating in conferences
  • On-the-job training
  • Job shadowing
  • Job rotation

As part of our learning and development provisions, we can also arrange for subscriptions or educational material, so employees will have access to news, articles and other material that can help them become better at their job. There are two conditions for this:

  • Subscription/Material should be job-related
  • All relevant fees should not exceed a set limit per person

This list doesn’t include software licences or other tools that are absolutely necessary for employees’ jobs.

 

Individual training programs

The company has certain provisions regarding individual training programs. All employees that have worked for the company more than four months are eligible to participate in external training programs individually or in teams. We will set a budget for each employee at the beginning of a year, which we’ll renew annually. Employees can be absent for training for up to 10 days per year.

Employees can choose to attend as many training programs as they want, provided they don’t exceed the budget and day limit. If they do, they’ll have to use their paid time off (PTO) and pay any extra fees themselves.

Employees may have to bring proof of attendance.

Any employee training that the company mandates (e.g. due to inadequacies of an employee’s performance or changes in their job description) is excluded from the training budget and time limit. The company may take care of the entire cost.

All trainings should consider what employees need and how they can learn best. This is why, we encourage employees and managers to consider multiple training methods like workshops, e-learning, lectures and more.

Corporate training programs

We might occasionally engage experts to train our employees. The company will cover the entire cost in this case. Examples of this kind of training and development are:

  • Equal employment opportunity training
  • Diversity training
  • Leadership training for managers
  • Conflict resolution training for employees

This category also includes training conducted by internal experts and managers.

Examples are:

  • Training new employees
  • Training teams in company-related issues (e.g. new systems or policy changes)
  • Training employees to prepare them for promotions, transfers or new responsibilities

Employees won’t have to pay or use their leave for these types of trainings. Attendance records may be part of the process.

 

Other types of training

Both employees and their managers are responsible for continuous learning. Employees should show willingness to improve by asking their managers for direction and advice. Managers should do the same with their own superiors, while encouraging and mentoring their subordinates.

Employees and managers are responsible for finding the best ways to CPD. They can experiment with job rotation, job shadowing and other types of on-the-job training (without disrupting daily operations). We also encourage employees to use their rights for self-paced learning by asking for educational material and access to other resources within allocated budget.

General guidelines:

  • All eligible employees are covered by this policy without discriminating against rank or protected characteristics.
  • Managers should evaluate the success of training efforts. They should keep records for reference and better improvement opportunities.
  • All employee development efforts should respect cost and time limitations, as well as individual and business needs.
  • Employees should try to make the most out of their trainings by studying and finding ways to apply knowledge to their work.
  • Employees are encouraged to use up their allocated training budget and time.

Procedure

This procedure should be followed when employees want to attend external training sessions or conferences:

  1. Employees (or their team leaders) identify the need for training.
  2. Employees and team leaders discuss potential training programs or methods and come up with suggestions.
  3. Employees or team leaders contact HR and briefly present their proposal. They might also have to complete a form.
  4. HR researches the proposal, with attention to budget and training content.
  5. HR approves or rejects the proposal. If they reject it, they should provide employees with reasons in writing.
  6. If HR approves, they will make arrangements for dates, accommodation, reserving places etc.
  7. In cases where the company doesn’t pay for the training directly, employees will have to pay and send invoices or receipts to HR. HR will approve employee reimbursement according to this information.
  8. If an employee decides to drop or cancel a training, they’ll have to inform HR immediately. They’ll also have to shoulder any cancellation or other fees.
  9. In cases where training ends with examination, employees are obliged to submit the results. If they don’t pass the exam, they can retake it on their own expense.

Generally, the company will cover any training fees including registration and examination (one time). They may also cover transportation, accommodation and personal expenses. This is left to HR’s discretion. If HR decides to cover these costs, they should make arrangements themselves (e.g. tickets, hotel reservations). Any other covered expense that employees have will be reimbursed, after employees bring all relevant receipts and invoices.

If employees want subscriptions, they should contact HR directly or ask their managers to do so. HR will preferably set up the subscription. In some rare cases, they might give formal approval to employees so they can do it themselves. Once employees make arrangements, they should inform HR of the cost and any other details in writing. Any relevant invoices should also be sent to HR.

HR’s responsibilities also include:

  • Assessing training needs
  • Maintaining budgets and training schedules
  • Assisting with learning and development activities and strategies
  • Promoting corporate training programs and employee development plans
  • Calculating learning and development KPIs whenever possible and decide on improvements