Training is one of the most common forms of development that employees experience at a company. This is because it requires a minimal investment by the company, while impacting a significant amount of employees at once. While there are limitations to the degree which training impacts skill development, the fact is that it is here to stay! So here are some recommendations Apex makes to our clients to increase the effectiveness of training and the overall impact to the bottom line.
Offer the “Right” Training
Many companies offer training without performing a Needs Analysis or asking for stakeholder input. Sometimes we find that they offer a really great training, but it just isn’t what the organization needs. Before you offer any training, you need to involve stakeholders and get their input around what topics they are interested in. It is even better if you have them help you evaluate programs or vendors and select the trainings with you.
The best solution is to perform a thorough Needs Analysis in advance of implementing training. With Survey Monkey and other free technology solutions, you can easily create an on-line assessment for a little time and dollar investment. You should also interview key stakeholders, to augment what you learn from your assessment; this should provide a good multi-modal Needs Analysis. It will also increase buy-in with employees and leadership, which is critical to the success of a training program.
Create a “Backbone” for the Training Program
Employees get turned off to training sessions that happen infrequently with no linkages between each event. It is important to ensure that trainings follow a logical flow and have an overall learning strategy, which creates continuity throughout the program. Employees want to have one training build upon another and be able apply those learnings in a practical and tactical way, when they leave the classroom and return to work.
Apex’s training programs usually have a core assessment that links all the topics and provides personal insights throughout all individual trainings. Whether it is the DISC, MBTI or another behavioral assessment, a tool like this can really help individuals understand how the training content applies to themselves. Adult Learning Theory states that adults learn best by attaching new ideas to things they already know; so by helping individuals understand their own behavioral style, you increase the likelihood that they will be able to translate new learnings to the job.
When used this way, behavioral assessments should be referenced in each successive training. For example, if the topic is Conflict Management then the training should help the individual understand how their behavioral style approaches conflict, as well as how other styles approach conflict. It should also demonstrate how each style has specific weaknesses when approaching conflict and provide advice for how to overcome those limitations. Using assessments in this way, one can provide a strong “backbone” to link all of the trainings together. It also promotes continuous learning and application back in the work environment.
Develop Internal Trainers by Offering “Train the Trainer” Programs
Developing internal training resources can be incredibly valuable and minimize the dollars spent on external trainers. Internal trainers understand the organization’s culture and can tailor content to the audience to make the learning experience highly relevant to participants. Training participants usually respond well to trainers that come from the organization and they see their participation as a strong endorsement that the organization values the training.
We work with many of our clients to create Train the Trainer programs aimed at creating internally sustainable training programs. We have found that organizations that have internal talent, with training abilities, can really maximize their training dollars with this approach. The DISC is one such training that can really take root and become part of the organizational culture when embraced by thought leaders and facilitated by talented internal resources. Whatever the topic is, internally delivered and sustained training programs can be very powerful in creating buy-in and traction.