How to Select the Best Training Program for Your Organisation

Some companies are spending the money on training, but on haphazard and poorly planned training activities with little results to show in terms of enhancing the quality of the workforce and their performance. However, management cannot be totally blamed for this.

I tend to attribute this gap to the people who understand training, people such as training managers, trainers and training consultants, for failing to sufficiently and professionally communicate, advice, guide, sell or inform the management. Management generally wants to get clear and straightforward answers to one question before they agree to invest in training – “How do we get business results from training?”

The emphasis is on business results, and not on just having done “20 programs this year,” as one training manager responded to a question on his achievements for the year. Results – not activities. It is easy to understand the reluctance to invest in training if management can’t see results.

Business results occur when skills taught during a training activity are applied on the job, thereby improving job performance. To ensure that the organization gets business results from its training investment, the following should be considered:

1. Training activities must be linked to business needs and not just to the latest and hottest seminar in town
Training must originate from business needs – for instance, a bank’s need to increase revenue by getting the tellers to cross-sell more and not from just responding to intermittent training requests without sufficient analysis to determine the reason for that request.

For example, a request like “Can you send the telephone operator for a telephone techniques course?” is not a need but suggested solution. The real business need could be to reduce customer complaints about having to wait a long time for calls to be picked up. If that operator has to answer 2,500 calls a day, the problem is not necessary a lack of telephone techniques – it could be a situation of work overload and training alone might not help.

2. Training must be performance based
Once business needs are identified, the next step is to identify what specific performance needs to be improved in order to either overcome a business problem – for instance, too many rejects from customers; fulfil a business opportunity or staffs to be able to sell a new line of products.

Proper training needs identification (TNI) must be carried out in order to provide valuable inputs to ensure that the training program is designed to improve performance.

3. Work environment and the learning experience must support each other
Too often, training carried out results in the trainee going back to a working environment that does not support the learning experiences she has just gone through. A typical example is an employee who went for a seminar on motivation, got “excited” and return back to the working environment that regularly demotivates him. In six months, she’s back to her original self.

One reason could be that the existing system, corporate culture or the superiors do not support the trained employee in using her newly acquired skills. In many instances, a lack of follow-through by the superior contributed to this failure. The other could be that the training program was designed without sufficient pre-analysis that would enable the program to be customized to relate to actual work situations.

Abstracted with permission from authored by KC See
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