Is training often effectively used? Recently during a session with one of my clients we were discussing the impact of training and its worth to the environment. Training in itself is something that is coveted by employees, they seek it sometimes not only for development, but also as a sense of recognition from their management that they are doing a good job and sometimes the training can be provided as its essential for the employee who has to develop due to non-performance.
Often training or certificates are desired by people as it will elevate their resumes and then make them more marketable. This can be one reason why companies consider the training requested very seriously before providing it and often include pay back clauses if the person leaves before a due time.
Training courses for companies externally can often escalate to thousands of dollars and over a series of days, and some of it of course, is only a couple of hundred dirhams and a couple of hours. But regardless of the expense and time, what is the true impact of the training for the company who has invested the time and money in the employee to attend and what is the effectiveness of it? More importantly is it ever actually implemented?
More often than not training is a fun and good learning experience for people. The personal impact is often a feeling of a heightened knowledge and understanding of a topic, people feel reinvigorated, passionate, and ready to implement all kinds of new ideas they have just learnt. During the training they have diligently taken notes, nodded their heads in understanding of new and old concepts delivered and they come out of the session full of inspiration and motivation, raring to go.
Then they return to their desks… the same day, the next day, or later… and the notes are carefully filed in a drawer with a promise that they will look at them later and write a plan, or do something that will require changes necessary. Unfortunately, sometimes the good intentions and inspiration is also filed away with the notes and often the enthusiasm wains and is sometimes lost as they are then consumed with getting back to the day to day tasks of the role and being missed by their demanding colleagues, clients and managers full of queries and requests of work to be completed. Often no one comes to check how the training even went. Sometimes, from more structured organizations, there is an evaluation form delivered to the attendant, usually directly after the training. This form is to focus on the delivery of the training and how they felt about the information delivered. It has questions like; What are the areas that assisted you the most? Was the training useful or relevant? Did the trainer engage you? Did you like the presentation methods? Will you recommend it? This focus is more about the delivery and hoping that the training hit the mark that the applicant thought it should.
But what happens later, one month, two months or longer down the line? Did they really improve on the selected topic? Did they learn and apply? If it’s external training, which is often more expensive, did the external person come back and train the team and pass on the knowledge? Did they trainee implement anything at all?
This does not mean that training is bad or ineffective, some people will manage and implement it themselves without follow up and support. But it is in the company’s best interest to measure the outcome of the investment. When all of the emphasis is placed on the training requirement, and delivery of the training, but is not placed on the implementation of the training received across a period of time after its delivery this is not effective.
Training is important and needed, and generates the right learning on topics as well as the motivation, interest and inspiration that employees do need. But the importance and focus of training should not be in the delivery, but in the outcome and application of the training, and in the review of the implementation which should happen not immediately, but be planned after a period of time over a series of occasions if needed with the individual person.
An element of the review that is often overlooked is the trainer’s participation in the review of the task that was being trained on. How can you review something from a distance or only from a discussion with them or their manager?
Therefore, the proper method of follow up while perhaps uncomfortable should be a demonstration of the activity or lesson learnt. This way, you can properly measure the effectiveness and implementation of the training provided and see the improvement or change required in the individual and this will allow the trainer to give further feedback, advice.
Training should not be a race by the training department to deliver or pay for vast amounts of courses that are requested by all the staff, but should be more of a concentrated approach and implementation of a few specially selected courses based on the companies goals and employee gaps and provided to enhance the internal efficiency and profitability of the company.