In my last blog I wrote about what organisations can expect by way of return on their training investment in terms of Training Transfer; it can be positive, negative or zero (neutral = no return). In this blog I want to provide you with a highly effective approach to ensure a positive return on that investment – before the decision to send people to a training session is made.
Organisations want to see a healthy bottom line as a result of the hard work put in by all their staff, so training should be decided as a course of action only if training is the answer to whatever challenge you are facing. And you need to ensure that training is done right.
Determine the need for training
Make sure the opportunity you are pursuing or the problem you are solving is a training issue. Training Transfer will be zero or negative if it is not a training issue and you will have wasted valuable resources pursuing a solution to an existing situation. The problem may lay in a number of areas completely separate to training, so you need to determine where to focus your time and attention and money.
What is required may relate to a process issue, or a systems issue, or perhaps be a matter for a performance management approach. Ineffective communication may be all that is giving you grief. The reason it appears your staff need training could relate to a support issue. Do a thorough needs and skills analysis to determine the real need for employee training and development.
Identify the requirements of the training
Once you are sure that there is a training need, then ask the following questions:
· What do training participants need to be able to do? Be specific here.
· Why do they need to do this? The answer should relate to their KPIs and required levels of productivity, or to ensure staff retention.
· How will this be communicate prior to training, and to whom? By whom?
· What is the support from management after training? The following areas must be addressed: workplace coaching, reinforcement of the newly acquired skills, knowledge &/or attitude, and an appropriate correction process. (More on this in part 3 of this blog series…..)
Identify the attributes of the training participants
In terms of their skill and knowledge levels, determine where they are now. The only need for training is because their skill, knowledge &/or attitude is below the required/desired level for the job role they fulfil. If there is no gap, there is no training need. An approach other than training is the answer.
Training Program Design and Delivery
If there has been an identified training need, the gap will be closed by structuring the training sessions to achieve specific outcomes.
The Training Provider is responsible for closing the gap, and the best way to do this is for them to have a thorough understanding of the requirements of the business, the context of the training, and the point of view of the learner.
Very specific and measureable outcomes must be identified and agreed to before the commitment is made to proceed with training.
Finally, the training environment must be conducive for learning for the learners – make sure your training provider approaches their training using adult learning principles, accelerated learning techniques, incorporating a range of learning styles to cater to the needs of your staff. When the training environment is relaxed, dynamic, fun and engaging then true learning occurs!
If your business is unique, it requires a tailored approach
Your people are unique and individual, so training needs to cater to their needs to ensure that positive training transfer occurs. Every activity in the training session must engage each and every learner. If your training provider has the same approach to all their clients, you have invested in an off-the-shelf approach, a one-size-fits-all solution that does not recognise or honour the unique qualities of your business or your people.
When all of the above items are addressed from your organisation’s perspective, then you can be assured of a positive return on your training investment – you will create a workplace that your staff will rave about and their productivity will increase dramatically!
In my next blog, I will look at the role management plays in relation to training. This final installment of The Importance of Training Transfer examines the people in your business who are responsible for all of this.