class on improving time management looked as if it would be a smart idea at first.
You had every employee attend, and now months down the line schedule slippages
are worse than ever. What is the problem? Could it be because your concept of
how training works is outdated? According to this oversimplified view, training
works like a magic potion. With this uncomplicated perspective, by attending training
classes, desirable results for your company will come about automatically. Similarly,
on this view, by enrolling workers in an online class and giving them access to
computers for learning, it is thought that you will see gains in your workplace.
How training leads to a great business
outcome on this view can be shown like this:
Trainee Attendance >> Business Results
arrows show this idea of how an employee attending a well-designed and implemented
training event creates the improved business results. Some possible outcomes for
the business could be less time for a product or service to make it to market,
a decrease in customer complaints, or an increase in customer loyalty, to name
a few examples.
This is your preferred
perspective if you view training as primarily telling workers "what and how."
Managers that behave from this viewpoint are mainly concerned with the "content"
of the program. As they choose a program, they concentrate solely on the information
that their workers will be provided.
can compare this approach to seeing your trainees as pieces of hardware or robots.
With this approach, training people works the same way as with programming a machine:
an employee is led to the programming area, the brand new instructions are "programmed"
for the employee, and the employee then returns to their task at hand.
may not even realize that you view your employees as machinery, waiting to be
instructed. One method of determining whether you view trainees as robots is to
observe how you react when employees don't behave according to the instructions
they received in the training. If training doesn't work, do you train the same
employees the same way, hoping that things will be different this time? And do
you write off the employees as "un-trainable" and ignore them when the
second training session fails?
let me move your attention to a more influential aspect of how training works.
As the basic view is linear and one-dimensional, this more advanced view of training
centers around the concept that there are a lot of items that interact with the
training event, that either bring about or prevent the intended company benefits.
Briefly stated, you can summarize
this more sophisticated view as follows:
Trainee Attendance >> Trainee Learning >> Workplace Behavior >>
Note that with this
view, there are a greater number of steps along the way, beginning with training
program attendance, to attaining the desired business results. Additional steps
mean there is a greater chance for training to fail even beyond the trainee's
Let's consider these
additional steps. After learning the material at the training event, it is even
more important for the trainee to actually apply the new knowledge and skills.
In order for this to happen, the training program must be well thought out and
handled properly. Complete agreement as well as a clear statement must be made
about the business and learning goals. The program should allow the trainees many
chances to practice, gain helpful feedback, etc. Acknowledge that there is no
guarantee with the learning. If results are what you desire, make sure that only
professionals are involved in putting together and delivering the program.
and foremost, you should observe that this step entails mitigating factors that
go into determining how much your workers will learn. The trainee's ability and
motivation are some of the factors. Playing the employees' manager part is very
important. You have to be sure that only those with the proper credentials attend
the training session. Furthermore, you will need to perform a few tasks prior
to and throughout the training to make certain that your employees are motivated
and remain enthusiastic to be trained.
the trainee is able to put into practice the knowledge they have gained. Training
will fall short if attendees don't modify their behavior beneficially when they
are back at work. There are several things that can lessen or increase learning.
Your role as a manager is very important in this case. The highest priority for
you is to make certain that back on the job, your employees have plenty of opportunities
to implement their new skills. Where you've made these opportunities available,
you'll need to ensure that a coach is accessible to them who will help them get
past the initial difficulties they encounter and that you give ample feedback
concerning their performance.
tasks you will need to perform are: setting goals that are mutually agreed upon,
defining job responsibilities and rewarding employees who do things correctly
and accomplish results. As none of these critical elements are automatic, work
diligently with the trainer as well as your employees to make certain that the
trainees have the correct work environment to utilize their new skills.
final step will include turning the new behaviors into wanted business results.
You might assume that since your workers finished the training and implemented
it at work, this final step is a given. This is not the case. Other things might
prevent or lessen the results you want. For instance, there may not be a decrease
in customer complaints following the training of customer service personnel due
to the recent release of a highly defective new product by your product department.
Looking at the bigger picture could be crucial too. For example, when tariffs
are simultaneously lowered by the government, the desired increase in sales may
not come to fruition.
The worst thing
that can happen is that you find out the training program was not the right answer
to start with. While it is possible to train individuals to perform quality inspection,
it is far less costly and time consuming to prevent the defects than inspect to
find them. So, work in close collaboration with the training program designers
from the outset to ensure that the training program you come up with really will
solve your problem.
The more powerful
view of training, as you can discern, scrutinizes the aspects that can either
bar or greatly lower the great business results you wanted. This way of looking
at things serves to make you focus on each of the important steps required to
achieve results in your business, rather than employees simply attending the training
program. One key thing to take from adopting this view of how training works is
that, as a manager, you will need to partner with your employees and the people
who design and roll out the training if you want your program to have any chance
There is a lot more that
can be said about how the promotion of this partnership can take advantage of
proper factors at each step to form more useful training programs. I have achieved
my objective if you can go on from here and understand that your success as a
manager depends on your choosing the right view of how training works.
Allan, L., From Training
to Enhanced Workplace Performance 2nd edn, http://www.businessperform.com/html/effective_training_tools.html
Leslie Allan. All rights reserved. Printed with permission.
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Leslie Allan is Managing
Director of Business Performance Pty Ltd, a company providing practical online
information and resources in a range of business areas, including managing
training. Leslie is also the author of five books on training and change management.
Visit his company's website at www.businessperform.com
for a range of practical guides, tools and templates and to download free introductory
chapters and resources.