The evaluations were great. The speaker was described as “dynamic,” the facility was perfect, the food was rated excellent and a good time was had by all. But now it’s two weeks later and no one remembers more than a few phrases from the training program. How do you get your moneys worth from employee training?
Does this scenario sound familiar? Getting training to “stick” and to be actually used back on the job is not an easy thing to do. You cannot hope to change lifelong behaviors in a one day training course. There are many other pieces of the puzzle that must go into the picture if you are to maximize the return on your training investment dollar.
Here are some ideas to help you evaluate your training programs , make sure that the skills taught are actually used back on the job and get your money’s worth.
Don’t try to cram in too much information.
Training programs must be user friendly by providing a framework that participants can digest and remember without extensive memory training. Review all your training outlines to make sure that the trainer is not going to inundate participants with too much information.
Avoid putting pressure on the trainer to include 22 topics in two days. You are wasting your money. Focus on two or three skills and spend lots of time on each, including experiential exercises that will help anchor the course content..
The training program must provide the time to discuss how the principles will be applied back on the job.
You can’t expect employees to intuitively know how they can use the skills later. The trainer must help them see exactly how they can use them.
There must be some actual practice or role play in the skills that you want the participants to exhibit.
If the participants don’t get to try different styles of communication in class, when do you expect they are going to test this new behavior?
Don’t send just one person in a group or department to a training course and expect change.
The participant will hopefully return all “fired up” about making changes only to find out that his coworkers are not excited about it at all. After a few attempts at implementing what he learned, the lone training participant will drop his efforts to improve. In order to get your moneys worth from employee training, you must put the whole group through the same course and make sure the managers are included.
Managers should also receive a separate course in how to reinforce the training back on the job.
If seminar participants don’t receive feedback about their behavior changes exhibited as a result of the training, they will quickly go back to their old, more comfortable way of doing things. ”What gets reinforced, gets done” is an old saying, but oh so true.
Be sure to ask the training participants what barriers are in their way to keep them from implementing the behaviors taught back on the job.
This should be done up front and then discussion provided about their potential solutions before and in the training program. If you just taught a group of entry level trainees to answer the phone in three rings, yet the department to which they are assigned is so understaffed that it will be impossible to respond to all the calls in three rings, you have wasted your training dollars.
Supervisors should have a conference with each trainee or group of trainees before the training seminar.
She should discuss exactly why the training is being conducted and what she would like the trainees to get out of the seminar. This avoids the “fix my people” attitude that so many companies exhibit. They will see a problem in a department, call the training department or an outside consultant, and tell them to fix the situation. Participants arrive at the seminar not knowing why they were sent and are usually very hostile about the whole thing..
Have some method of measuring performance improvement back on the job.
Supervisors should schedule a short conference with each trainee within a few days of completion of the training. The supervisor and trainee should go over the goals set in the session and develop a time frame for their achievement. The supervisor then coaches the employee on a regular basis to help him achieve those goals. And when he has reached them, rewards him.