Why Most Training FailsBy: Jim Clemmer
Most organizations use their training investments about as strategically as they deploy their office supplies spending. And the impact on customer satisfaction, cost containment or quality improvement is just as useless.
One of the biggest causes of wasted training dollars is ineffective methods. Too often, companies rely on lectures ("spray and pray"), inspirational speeches or videos, discussion groups and simulation exercises.
While these methods may get high marks from participants, research (ignored by many training professionals) shows they rarely change behaviour on the job. Knowing isn't the same as doing; good intentions are too easily crushed by old habits. Theoretical or inspirational training approaches are where the rubber meets the sky.
Another way of wasting dollars is failing to link training with organizational strategies and day-to-day management behaviour. What happens in the classroom and what happens back on the job are often worlds apart.
Trainees learn which hoops to jump through, pledge alliance to the current management fad, give their enthusiastic "commitment" to building "the new culture," get their diploma - and then go back to work.
Here are a few steps to using training as a key strategic tool:
And Western Gas Marketing Ltd. of Calgary uses its performance appraisal system to hold managers accountable for applying the principles that have been taught to them.
In addition, managers achieve a deeper level of skill development when they teach others and are put on the spot to practice what they are now preaching.
Naturalist William Henry Hudson once observed: "You cannot fly like an eagle with the wings of a wren." Most training efforts never get off the ground because the methods don't change behaviour or the training is poorly delivered and integrated by the organization.
The waste of money is tragic for such a vital investment in competitiveness - and ultimately Canada's standard of living.
© Copyright 2000 The CLEMMER Group
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