Welcome to our July edition of our Business Performance Newsletter. This month’s newsletter is devoted to helping trainers make a worthwhile impact in their organization or with their clients. Whether you are new to the training profession or you are a supervisor or team leader who is sometimes called upon to deliver training, our feature article this month contains some invaluable tips for making a difference with your training.
Social media networks are becoming all pervasive. There are now a number of useful online networks for trainers. A new one that proves to be very interesting is the Kirkpatrick Evaluation group at LinkedIn. The group’s discussions center around Donald Kirkpatrick’s Four Level Evaluation Model. Donald and his son and daughter-in-law are the facilitators. You can join up at www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=2052477&trk=hb_side_g After you’ve joined up, check out the other LinkedIn HR networks. Another useful training discussion group is at Workforce.com. This portal is more of the traditional forum discussion sort. You can read the online discussion at www.workforce.com/phpBB/viewforum.php?forum=58&6086 without needing to join. Another useful resource is our regular management and training tips. You can read them on our Twitter page at http://twitter.com/leslieallan
Be sure to check out our range of training resources at the end of this newsletter and the special offer we have for our loyal subscribers. We hope you enjoy our feature article.
Training the Right Way
by Leslie Allan, Managing Director, Business Performance P/L
When I first became a trainer many years ago, I worked myself up about whether my trainees were learning anything useful, whether I was using the right approach, and so on. And these were fair questions to ask, as any trainer worth their salt will reflect critically on their own practice. After working with a number of organizations as both an internal trainer and external consultant, I began to condense all of the lessons I learned along the way into the five “rights” of training.
I see these “rights” as the basic requirements that need to be satisfied for a training program to have a real and positive impact on an organization. As you read my description for each, consider how the training you design and deliver is meeting these necessary elements. These five “rights” are:
- Right Trainees
- Right Learning
- Right Time
- Right Method
- Right Environment
1. Right Trainees
-employees genuinely requiring skill development are nominated for training
There is no point wasting employees’ time and your organization’s resources shuffling people into a training room or making them complete on-line modules if training will not help them perform any better. Conduct a proper training needs analysis up front and only prescribe training where imparting new skills and knowledge will help lift performance. Be especially wary of managers that see every performance problem as an opportunity to put people in front of a trainer. During your performance diagnosis phase, get managers to appreciate that a performance shortfall can occur for a variety of reasons. When an employee does not do as their manager expects, it may be because they:
a) don’t know it’s expected
Training will only help where all or part of the performance shortfall is because of reason e) above. Use the employee performance diagnostic flowchart at www.businessperform.com/html/poor_employee_performance.html to help you and your managers determine the reasons for poor performance. Try also to avoid the waste that comes with resorting to a “scattergun” approach. Some managers feel that because James and Judy require training in handling difficult customers, it’s an even better idea to subject the whole department to the same training. Not only can these resources be better used elsewhere, employees will resent having their time wasted on useless training.
b) think they’re already doing it
c) don’t want to do it
d) can’t do it
e) don’t know how to do it
2. Right Learning
-program content and activities closely match organization and learner objectives
Get to the heart of what problem or opportunity your organization wants training to assist with. And then design the learning to match those objectives. Don’t fall into the trap of asking supervisors or employees what training they would like. This approach more often than not misses the real business needs and is typically the result of superficial performance appraisal discussions and employee surveys. Trainers then find that the “smorgasbord” of training programs they present in the annual training calendar has few takers as employees find work priorities taking precedence over “discretionary” learning.
In addition, with no clear learning objectives tied to organizational imperatives, the temptation is to fill out training programs with all kinds of superfluous content and exercises. Focus on the “must haves” for the program to meet the organization’s goals. With the time that you have left over, include the “nice to haves”.
3. Right Time
-training is neither delivered too early nor too late
There is a window of opportunity in which to teach employees new skills. Miss that window and the training will be nowhere near as effective. If the training is conducted too early before the new systems are implemented in their workplace, when they return they will have limited opportunity to practice their new skills. Without repeated application on the job, they will quickly forget what they had learned.
Conversely, if the training is conducted too late, they are at risk of picking up or continuing wrong behaviors. Not only can this lead to costly mistakes, it will take a lot more time and resources to correct such bad habits once they become ingrained. Delivering the training in a timely manner is also important for maintaining employee morale and efficiency. If new systems are implemented that leave employees floundering without the right skills, they are more likely to become disengaged or to leave the organization altogether.
© Copyright Leslie Allan
To read all five “rights”, click here for the full article.
Training Tools and Guides
Successful trainers possess the right skills and attitudes and command the right tools. Check out our range of training resources designed to help you every step of the way.
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Be sure to pass this newsletter on to friends and colleagues who want to stay up with what’s on. From all of us here on the Business Performance team, we wish you a productive month and look forward to communicating with you again soon.