By Fiona Hudson-Kelly
When budget cuts are introduced the first thought is frontline services must be protected. One consequence of this is that training is often the first casualty because its impact is rarely measured and the only numbers available relate to the costs. Another approach is to tackle the problem in an innovative way. Review, rather than cut is a better way forward. Here is a framework for reviewing training to get the best value from a reduced budget.
Research over the last 3 decades has shown that 80% of all training is totally wasted, many organisations and trainers would accept this but the key is knowing which of the 20% is working.
How often have you been on a training programme and thought these are great ideas and skills, leaving absolutely determined to apply them when you get back to work? Then what happens you go back to work and your inbox is full, there are a queue of people waiting to see you with queries and by the afternoon you haven’t even got through your snail mail. Sounds familiar? Then over the next few days what you have learnt starts to evaporate because if you don’t use new skills you will lose them.
The training pod’s ‘5 steps to Training Success’ common sense Training Model takes the training process back to basics.
Step 1 : What problem is the training going to solve?
Firstly organisations need to ask themselves what problem the training is expected to solve. Is it really a training issue or is it a line management issue. For example are the employee’s spending time on social networks instead of getting their work done? Often a time management course is identified as a solution. Seldom will this work because the employee needs to be aware that socialising with their friends online instead of getting their work done is not acceptable and line management should deal with this through the disciplinary procedure.
If, on the other hand, the employee works hard but still fails to achieve deadlines then a personal effectiveness course could help.
Step 2 : Less is More
Once you have identified the purpose of the training and type of training course that could be relevant go back to basics and figure out which components of the course are relevant to solving the problem. If the problem is managing deadlines then a module of prioritizing work loads would probably be most relevant. If we make the training into bite size chunks of 90 minutes then this will have much greater impact than a full one or two day course.
Step 3: Deliver It
Have a clear training outcome, what difference in performance are you expecting as a result of this training investment. Be specific; an example would be the board minutes are going to be submitted in time for the next board meeting and their expenses are going to be submitted in time. Once you’ve got your outcome in mind, discuss with the employee their preferred learning style for this type of training. Prioritising deadlines; would they prefer to read about it, have some coaching from someone who does this well or maybe their preference would be watching a video or web training? Their learning preference may be different depending on what the training content is.
Step 4 : Use It or Lose It
Once the first bite size training module has been taken then the employee needs time to practice what they have learnt. The most effective way of doing this is to share their new skills and knowledge with others in their team and this should include their line manager. The employee should present the key learning points to colleagues then agree how their colleagues can support them in practicing their new skills.
Step 5: Measure and Adjust It
Before any further training is taken measure the effect of the initial training module against the agreed outcomes. Did the Board minutes arrive on time? Did the employee submit their expenses in good time. Measure it across a period of time not just the first few weeks after training, it takes continuous practice for new skills to become habitual. If the training hasn’t had the desired effect then remedial training is required. Following the same process drill down into the module they covered and see if there are elements that have been absorbed and others that haven’t. Consider testing them on the content to help identify any further gaps.
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