Trainers are often asked to create training programs when training is not an appropriate solution. Use a quick test to determine whether or not training can solve a particular employee performance challenge. See a live audience discuss sample requests and decide whether training is the right solution. Explore alternative solutions to training that may be more effective in certain situations.
- Training is often the first solution suggested when employees aren't performing at the level they're supposed to. Unfortunately, it's not always the right solution. A chef might have the finest culinary training, but she won't be able to prepare a delicious steak without a good piece of meat to start with. A mechanic might be trained to fix any car, but he still needs the right tools and parts to get the job done. Before you create training, it's important to determine whether training will resolve the issue. There are three issues that training can fix, a gap in knowledge where employees need to know information, a gap in skill where employees need to know how to do something, and a gap in ability.
If the issue is not related to a gap in at least one of these three areas, then training is not the right solution. Now, some people wonder about the difference between skill and ability. Think of ability as a combination of natural talent and skill. For example, I have the skills required to dunk a basketball, but I lack the ability to dunk a basketball in a regulation 10-foot-high rim. The rim needs to be about eight feet or lower for me to dunk. Now let's apply this concept to some real training scenarios.
You can pause the video, download the Is This a Training Issue worksheet, and try to determine whether the requested training is an appropriate solution for each case. When you're ready, hit play again to see the live class discussing the answers. I've got a few scenarios up here, and I want you to try to decide will this suggested training fix this problem? Can you see that okay in the back of the room? Okay, so let me give you about maybe a minute or two at your tables to discuss these and see what answers you would give for each of these three scenarios.
(chatting) What do you think? The scenario is a small department's having a hard time working together because two senior employees create an uncomfortable work environment. The request that I got was team-building training. What do you think? Was there a consensus at your tables? Was there debate? - To me it seems like it might be more of a conflict resolution maybe between the two.
- [Instructor] Okay. - And so to establish perhaps what could be going wrong, is it just a project that they're working on that they're not, you know, doing well with, or is it something with titles or responsibilities and workload? - We don't know, right? - So you kind of have to uncover it. - This one sentence description. And so you all raise good points that the solutions can sometimes be more complicated than, "Hey, we're going to send everybody to team-building training". If we want to make things simple, let's go back to what gaps training can solve, and what it can not solve.
So we got to ask ourselves, "Is this a gap in knowledge, skills, or ability?" What do you think? - [Male Student] No. - We don't know. Some people are saying we don't know. And some people are saying no. Why do you say no? - I don't know, I don't think it's, that's a tough one. - But what jumps out of me, that's your gut reaction, right? That's not a gap in knowledge, skill, or ability. - Yeah, because I feel like that's just, it's more of a personal thing that they're bringing in this uncomfortable environment, that you can, like, you can learn it, and learn how to, you know, cope and work with other people, but I think that's something more just internally.
It's more home training than something that you should learn at the workplace. - Could be. Okay, here are the answers to the activity. Team-building training would probably not solve the problem. The conflict was caused by two individual employees. So I suggested that the manager address those issues with the two people directly. - How 'about the number two, employees don't know how to use the organization's new computer system. Some keywords here, what do you think, is there a gap in knowledge, skill, or ability here? - [All] Yes.
- We make that simple enough? Okay, they can't all be hard ones, right? Here there appears to be a clear gap in knowledge and skill, since there's a new system. So training probably will solve the problem. - How 'about this last one? Employees can't keep up with their workload due to a staffing shortage. I've gotten that request multiple times. Let's do time-management training. What do you think? - You tell your manager, I'm stressed out cause I have a lot of work, and then they say, time-management training.
Basically what you're telling them is, we know that your current situation sucks, but you just can't make the best of your situation so let's put you through time-management training. - Yeah, other thoughts? - We talked about that, it might be more of an issue with just redesigning the organization, so time-management training might be a band-aid but it might not fix the actual problem. And then another perspective is that, that might actually work, it just depends on the situation, but I feel like, a lot of times organizations will think that there's so underwater with things but if they just kind of took a step back and took a deep breath, and really understood what they were doing was really just not productive, that might help with time-management training.
But again, we really talked about that, it would probably be reorganizing more so than training. - Could be. Now the last one is tricky, because we really don't know the reasons why employees can't keep up. I'd call this one a maybe, since we'll need to do some further investigation. You can save a lot of time and money if you take a moment to decide if training is the right solution. Keep in mind that training can only solve the problem if you're missing a KSA, knowledge, skill, or ability.
- Identifying employee training needs
- Creating an individual development plan
- Developing learning objectives
- Preparing employees for training
- Evaluating a training program
- Presenting with confidence and clarity
- Facilitating discussions and learning
- Managing breaks effectively
- Delivering training via webinar