Last month’s newsletter introduced the concept of training transfer as the act of applying new knowledge and skills learned in training back on the job. And, as also noted last month, for training programs to be of high business value, learners must use the knowledge and skills they’ve learned back on the job, performance must be improved, and the impact on the business must be positive.
Training transfer is contingent on two things – the overall design of the training program and the work environment. The program must promote the application of new knowledge and skills, and the work environment must encourage and support their use.
Last month, twelve attributes of programs that increase training transfer were introduced, including:
- The learning program is attended within close proximity (2-3 weeks) of when the learners will use the new knowledge and skills
- Strategies are used to help learners link new knowledge and skills to their prior knowledge and experience
- Organization and job-specific examples are used to make the content relevant to learners
This month’s newsletter introduces conditions that need to exist in the work environment to support training transfer.
Work Environment Conditions that Support Training Transfer
- The goal of the training program is aligned with business needs and priorities
- The program’s goal is in step with the organization’s core values, cultural attributes, and other initiatives
- Managers and leaders are knowledgeable about the competencies being developed in the training program and their intended use on the job
- Managers and leaders serve as positive role models by demonstrating on the job, competences and attitudes taught in the training
- The organization’s culture supports the adoption and use of the new competencies
- Learners are provided enough time to practice and apply new competencies to their work
- Learners have access to tools, equipment, software, and other resources needed to apply what they learned in training
- Learners are positively reinforced, in ways meaningful to them, for attending the training and apply what they learned to their work
- The organization’s policies and procedures support the adoption and use of the new skills
- Managers and leaders help learners establish goals for performance and provide feedback about progress toward the goals
- Managers have the coaching skills required to provide learners with positive and corrective feedback
- Experienced co-workers or mentors are assigned to assist and coach learners in the use of new knowledge and skills, as needed
- Learners are encouraged to share what they learned back on the job, thereby reinforcing learning and supporting transfer
- Managers and leaders encourage learners to be self-directed, that is, they are encouraged to be responsible for their own learning and actively seek out opportunities
Ensuring these conditions exist in the work environment will support training transfer and help make certain that the knowledge and skills learned in the training are used back on the job.
For the training to be of high business value, the knowledge and skills that are learned in the program must be used back on the job. For training transfer to occur, the program needs to promote the application of new knowledge and skills back on the job, and the work environment needs to encourage and support their use.
If training transfer does not occur, and job performance does not improve, the training is not of value to the organization. Said another way, the training is not a good use of people’s time, training budget, and other resources.