“Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten.” – B. F. Skinner
Every training manager knows that not everything that is taught, is ever learned. And to make things worse, everything that is learned is not put into practice on the job. Although training is essential to developing a “cutting edge” workforce, measuring the efficiency of training is often difficult.
In tough economic times, squeezing every last drop of value out of your training dollar is vital. Here are a few things you can do to ensure just that:
- Demand results
Sometimes in my training courses, I will ask the participants, “what does your boss expect from you with regard to this training?” The unfortunate truth is that most of the time I get a lot of blank stares back at me. Rarely will any participant say that their boss expects them to report back on what they learned. In other words, most participants are not held accountable for what they learn and how they will apply it to their work.
Well, known research tells us that six months after people attend training, they implement only about 15% of what they learned.But if you follow up with them, and coach them on how to use the knowledge to improve what they do, they implement 85% of what they learned. If you really want to turn the heat up on their learning, ask them to teach others in your company what they learned. You might even ask them to account for what they learned as part of their annual performance appraisal.
Get active in your expectations of training, and you can create outcomes that are nearly six times better than without it.
- Connect the dots between training and business priorities
Your business priorities and strategic goals must be tied closely to your training. When you have clear strategic goals, you can look closely at employee core competencies to see what specific behaviors are necessary to drive performance towards your goals. Deficiencies in performance are not considered a weakness, but rather an opportunity to develop necessary skills. Training becomes the link that builds real indicators for measuring success leading towards the achievement of business priorities.
- Create training events designed specifically for your company
Although the “shot-gun” approach to training may be easier to administer, it’s the “telescopic” approach to training that will yield the best results for your company. Developing a training package specifically designed for your company will result in a learning experience that is more closely aligned with your needs. This may mean working with a trainer to develop specific curriculum. If this is not feasible, learners could also ask their trainers if they can present material on a certain topic. Inherent in this is learners who are taking an active role in asking for learning experiences that match their needs and expectations. This always results in a payoff.
- Develop a Learning Corporate Culture
Learning and its application are maximized when everyone gets involved. When senior management, middle management, and front-line workers are all involved, it sends one loud message – this training is important! It’s like saying: we are all learning this, we are all applying it, we are all moving towards the same goals. Senior management can show up at key training events or provide video input to the training. Middle managers can coach, mentor and encourage specific skills. Frontline workers apply what they see is important to the organization.
- Use Technology to increase Training Efficiency
The age of e-learning now provides a dazzling array of educational technology. Opportunities abound for the use of various types of media that deliver text, audio, images, animation, and streaming video. Companies providing tools for computer and web-based learning provide a cost-effective way to train their staff. These tools can be used alone or in conjunction with other methods of training.
About the Author:
Dennis Eisenbarth has been facilitating training for the past 20 years. He offers training in more than 25 different topics, all designed to increase efficiency in the workplace, build leadership and motivate people to achieve success. He can be contacted at www.etgchangetrainers.com