Many companies commit to training with enthusiasm and zest, but pay little attention to the elements that make the training intervention cost effective and that has lasting impact on the participants. Ineffective and inappropriate training is one of the biggest wastes of money that companies experience.
Why is this?
More specifically, what mistakes are companies making in their organisation, implementation and follow up of training programmes? This post highlights 5 mistakes that are commonly made by companies in this area and how they
can be avoided.
Mistake #1: No clear objective
If an in-depth needs analysis hasn’t been completed to determine what skills or knowledge are needed by the employee receiving the training, then that training is only going to be entertaining at best. Too many supervisors are asked “What training does your subordinate require?” but don’t allocate enough time to really assess needs. In many cases, the individual him/herself isn’t even consulted. A consequence of this is that often participants don’t feel motivated to do any pre-course preparation, which directly contributes to a lower training effectiveness. It is important to make sure that training needs are completely alligned with employees’ goals, departmental objectives and ultimately, the overall business strategy
Mistake #2: The training is too theoretical
Too many training sessions seem like lectures with little interaction between the participant and the trainer. If there is no opportunity to put into practise the skills being taught, the retention will be minimal. You need to make sure that the training course contains many practical activities that encourage the participants to think for themselves and reflect on how they can directly apply the new skills learned to the issues they have in their work. Another important factor here is the trainer – make sure you’re working with trainers who have lots of personality and energy – trainers who are sensitive to the atmosphere and are capable of lifting the participants’ energy when required.
Mistake #3: There is no or insufficient follow-up
If the training isn’t reviewed or applied in the work situation within seven days of completion of the course, it will only be remembered by 33% of the recipients. After six weeks this figure drops to 14%. To avoid this waste, make sure you have made a plan with the individual on how to incorporate what was learned on the training into a new work habit. Follow up coaching sessions can help here and it is a shame that in general, coaching techniques are not sufficiently integrated into training programmes. The overall objective of any training intervention is that once imparted, the recipients then perform aspects of their job in a different way.
It is one thing to have new knowledge, it is quite another to change one’s habits of working and act on the new knowledge. It takes great discipline and motivation on the part of any individual to move out of their comfort zone and begin to work in a new way. Just three or four follow-up coaching sessions can make a big difference in how the individual applies the new skills learned.
Mistake #4: There is no management buy-in
This is reflected in management not supporting transfer of the learning from the classroom to the workplace especially if the training is regarded as “ad-hoc” and there hasn’t been enough communication to management about how the training aligns with
company strategy. In a similar way, where training is not reinforced by company processes, recently trained employees will have difficulty putting into practice what they have learned. For example, if staff have received training in customer service and how to deal with complaints more effectively, it will be of little benefit if the company policy requires them to always go to management to resolve any complaint. Another consequence of not having policies that reinforce the training is that staff become completely demotivated and disempowered as they observe the incoherency.
Mistake #5: Being influenced by price instead of the quality of the course content.
At the end of the day, what counts is value not price. If a very cheap course leaves the delegates with no new knowledge and no idea of how to incorporate new techniques into their work, this course has proved to be extremely expensive to the company in terms of wasted resources. Think hard about your criteria for commiting to a “cheap” course; yes, you may think you’re getting “value for money” but on the other hand you may be thowing away precious budget.
In this post I have outlined the 5 main mistakes that companies tend to make when organising training programmes. Doing exactly the opposite of these “mistakes” will automatically lead to successful training. And what do we mean by successful training? What does successful training give us? It gives us motivated, confident, employees who can see clearly where their newly acquired skills fit into the big picture and are supported to change working habits and behaviours which ultimately lead to increased productivity.