Join Todd Dewett for an in-depth discussion in this video Training for greater impact, part of Motivating and Engaging Employees.
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- Companies spend billions of dollars each year on various forms of training. That includes training on technical job skills as well as training on communication and leadership skills. Whether delivered as on the job training or in a more traditional classroom, the basic idea is the same. Use a quality resource to help a person build new skills. Sounds simple enough, but there's a problem. The research suggests that sometimes training works and sometimes it doesn't. This translates into an immense waste of time and dollars every year.
But it doesn't have to be that way. To make training investments pay off, you have to get the right people, the right training at the right time from the right resource and then work to ensure transfer of learning. Most large firms have fairly sophisticated systems in place to address these issues, but they still sometimes get it wrong. One of the biggest reasons has to do with the budgeting process. When a manager has a training budget, they want to spend all of it not just part of it, out of fear that higher level budget planners will conclude they don't need that money.
Thus, they might not receive as much next year. So, even if an employee doesn't need any training at the moment, we send them anyway. It's not productive, but it happens. Instead, I want you to get the most bang for your training buck by approaching training correctly. There's three big parts of a smart approach. The first is getting the right people quality training content when needed. The right people are employees with real needs. Needs they have self identified, needs you've observed or needs identified through some type of assessment.
The right training content is content that specifically addresses the identified needs. The right time is when needed, not when the next class is offered or next quarter when the new budget cycle begins. That's part one. The right people receiving good training when needed. Next. we have to consider what it means to select the best training resource. The first decision you must make is which type of training best matches your needs. There are several common types of training, including on the job training, online training, classroom training, blended learning, simulations and many others.
They all have pros and cons, so no one approach is perfect. Your goal is to choose one that best helps you in terms of cost, effectiveness and efficiency. Unfortunately, we often simply choose the lowest cost resource, but this is not an area where you want to find the lowest cost because in many ways, you do get what you pay for. Remember, it's better to delay or skip training, instead of purchasing a low quality resource that won't help your team build new skills.
If your choice is the classroom or a blended approach, which involves a combination of classroom and online work, it's very important to mention a few things to look for in good training content and delivery. Remember the old saying, that telling ain't training. Anyone can stand and read material to a group, but to connect, you need a little more. For example, consider these key elements of great classroom training. First, use an expert who is also an engaging speaker.
The world is full of experts, but many of them are not high level communicators. In a training environment, knowledge is not enough. You have to be a great communicator. Next, remember to be interactive. Using a conversational approach instead of pure lecture, along with a few activities, makes the communication two way. Learning sticks more when learners participate. It's also useful to try multiple modes of learning. A learner can listen, write, use a computer, work in small groups or other approaches to interacting with the material.
When you attack the learning points through different modes, knowledge sticks better. Finally, ensure relevant application. Talking about an idea in the abstract might be useful, but actually applying the idea to real work and real problems they will face in the office brings the lessons to life and increases retention. All of these support your ultimate goal, which is transfer of learning. Even if you make great training choices, you have to make it possible for learning to be brought back to the office and used on the job.
That requires informed managers who know about their employees training activities and who encourage and expect the new skills to be utilized. Training in various forms has been around for hundreds of years, but it only adds value if it's done correctly. Follow the tips we just discussed to ensure your training dollars are invested wisely.
Lynda.com is a PMI Registered Education Provider. This course qualifies for professional development units (PDUs). To view the activity and PDU details for this course, click here.
The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
- Assessing employee engagement
- Providing autonomy
- Building a transparent culture
- Modeling desired behavior
- Using monetary and nonmonetary motivators
- Fostering accountability
- Developing career paths for employees<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.