For the most part, companies train their employees with pretty straightforward and specific goals in mind. New hire orientation provides employees with an introduction to the organization and its policies. Employees in individual departments receive training on business processes and procedures, and computer applications needed to perform their jobs.
Ideally, training changes employees’ behavior, which in turn has a positive impact on the organization. The idea is that employees attend training and learn new knowledge and skills. When they return to the work setting, they use what they’ve learned, and their job performance is improved. The improved performance results in a return on the investment in the training initiative.
But in reality, training doesn’t always achieve the intended goals, and the organization doesn’t always achieve the desired results. There are many reasons why the training could miss the mark. Maybe the content was disorganized and confusing, maybe the information was incomplete, or maybe the sessions were rushed. If training doesn’t result in improved performance, and it doesn’t result in the organization achieving the intended goals, it’s of less value to the organization.
The focus of this blog is high business value training. Training solutions that are of high business value improve performance measurably, leading to the achievement of desired business outcomes. These solutions are important to the organization, significant, and worth the investment.
What’s involved in delivering high business value training? There are three main factors. First, it’s important to understand what the sponsors want the impact of the training to be, or the results they hope to achieve. Second, it’s important to make design decisions that ensure the cost of the training isn’t greater than the monetary benefit to the organization. And third, high business value training is effective and achieves the desired results. Employees learn new knowledge and skills, they implement what they learned in their work, job performance is improved, and the impact on the business is positive.
This monthly newsletter explores factors associated with the delivery of high business value training. We’ll begin by introducing ten characteristics associated with effective training. In subsequent newsletters we’ll examine the ten characteristics in greater detail, and explore training costs and measures of business outcomes.
Characteristics of Effective Training
As previously discussed, training must be effective for employees to learn new knowledge and skills, use the knowledge and skills back on the job, and for job performance to improve. Here are ten characteristics of effective Instructor-led training.
- Learning objectives are aligned with business goals and priorities and are clearly articulated
- Supports are put in place to ensure what is learned in training is transferred back to the job
- Factors are in place to help learners become and remain enthusiastic about learning and employing new skills on the job
- Content is well organized and grouped into manageable chunks that can be easily assimilated by learners
- Learning methods and strategies are used to facilitate the development and assimilation of new knowledge and skills
- Learners are provided with affirmative feedback to reinforce satisfactory performance and corrective feedback to improve substandard performance
- The learning media and materials are well designed, well matched to the content of the program and intended outcomes, and properly employed
- Good principles of facilitation are followed during the delivery of the program
- The learning program recognizes that no two people learn in the same way or at the same pace and attends to learner differences and preferences
- The physical environment in which the learning program is conducted is conducive to learning
In closing, the focus of the blog is high business value training. This initial post has introduced ten characteristic of effective training. Future blog posts will examine these characteristics in greater detail. Training costs, and approaches used to measure the impact of training on the business will also be explored.