Let’s say, you are a senior executive in a service company, and you want to improve customer satisfaction rates by boning up employees. What do you do? Right, set up corporate training. Yes, it will cost you a pretty penny, but you’re sure that eventually, it all will pay off in a big way. But time is passing, and you see no results: neither in workers’ performance nor customer satisfaction. That’ because you haven’t approached the task strategically and did it all wrong.
Two Common Mistakes Made When Ordering a Training
Have you researched and assessed methods of teaching, which are usually used in training sessions? Most commonly these are lectures, speeches, media presentations or, at best, discussions, sharing sessions, and simulations. All of them are referred as “spray and pray” techniques deemed by experts horribly ineffective in regards to their influence on working behavior of the participants. The thing is, getting theoretical knowledge doesn’t necessarily mean applying it while an employee accomplishes his or her duties. Everyday working routine and old habits are very hard to crush with long rants and motivational oratories.
Here is another question: have you thought about how relevant trainings you pay for are to the everyday activity of employees and managers? Often the topic of the training might sound quite related to what your staff could be interested in, but what is actually discussed and practiced in class is as close to what they really do on a daily basis as the Milky Way to Earth. As a result, after getting their certificate of accomplishment, trainees return to their workplace and keep doing what they have been doing before, and they do it the same way as before. Does that help achieve strategic goals that an organization had set when decided to order and pay for training? Guess, you already know the answer.
Read on to discover what are the right ways to organize training activities and not spend money in vain.
How to Approach Training Strategically (that is, the Right Way)
- Choose trainings, which focus on practical competences and instantly applicable how-to skills relevant to the sphere of an organization’s activity. It’s a proven fact that acting in a certain way changes person’s way of thinking more effectively than thinking that one must act in a certain way. In other words, behavior change triggers attitude change, not vice versa.
- Reinforce the ideas and provide on-the-workplace coaching of the skills obtained during the training with the follow-up sessions. Crucial condition: it must be done with the participation of managers and executives. According to a study by Motorola Inc., the involvement of the senior management in the follow-up arrangements led to a high return on money invested in training – over 30 times! On the plants, where executives didn’t participate, the return rate was negative.
If not reinforced by managers, only slightly over 10% of ideas and skills learned are implemented by employees just 6 months after the training. So it might pay off if you financially motivate managers to coach and support applying skills presented during trainings.
- Training should be built around the company’s strategy and operational objectives so that employees could understand right away the connection between what they are taught and what the company is aiming for.
- Senior managers should educate themselves and hold their own trainings for the workers to share the acquired knowledge. The thing is, as organization’s employees themselves, executives can distill the information they’ve got and pass on to other workers only what’s really important and highly relevant. Plus, there’s no denying the profits of the personal example, which shows that the company is truly serious about changes and improvements from top to bottom.
Let’s sum it up: training is only effective when properly delivered with appropriate methods, is relevant to the organization’s strategy and reinforced inside the company by management. That is when the change in the behavior of trainees is the most probable, boosting employees’ performance and improving company’s key figures.