4 Tips to Make Training and Development Work

An employee training session

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How much money did your organization invest last year in training and development that failed to provide the results you sought? You are not alone if employee training classes rarely resulted in the transfer of immediately useful information to your workplace.

Real employee behavioral change, based on the training content, is even harder to demonstrate in most organizations. Discouraging? You bet. So what's an organization to do to ensure employee training transfers to the workplace?

You can create a training and development support process that will ensure that the employee training you have works. You can make training and development more effective within your organization. TheseĀ four suggestions and approaches will make your employee training more effective and transferable; their application will result in measurable differences in your bottom line performance.

Creating Training Stickiness Before the Employee Training Sessions

You can do the following in advance of the employee training session to increase the likelihood that the training you do will actually transfer to the workplace.

  • Make sure the need is a training and development opportunity. Do thorough needs and skills analysis to determine the real need for employee training and development. Make sure the opportunity you are pursuing or the problem you are solving is a training issue.
    If the employee is failing in some aspect of her job, determine whether you have provided the employee with the time and tools needed to perform the job. Does the employee clearly understand what is expected of her on the job? Ask yourself whether the employee has the temperament and talent necessary for her current position; consider whether the job is a good skill, ability, and interest fit?
  • Create a context for the employee training and development. Provide information for the employee about why the new skills, skill enhancement, or information is necessary. Make certain the employee understands the link between the training and his job.
    You can enhance the impact of the training even further if the employee sees the link between the training and his ability to contribute to the accomplishment of the organization's business plan and goals.
    It's also important to provide rewards and recognition as a result of successful completion and application of the training. (People like completion certificates, for instance. Some companies list employee names and completed training sessions in the company newsletter.)
    This contextual information will help create an attitude of motivation as the employee attends the training. It will assist the employee to want to look for relevant information to apply after the session.
  • Provide training and development that is really relevant to the skill you want the employee to attain or the information he needs to expand his work horizons. You may need to design an employee training session internally if nothing from training providers exactly meets your needs. Or, seek out providers who are willing to customize their offerings to match your specific needs.
    It is ineffective to ask an employee to attend a training session on general communication when his immediate need is to learn how to provide feedback in a way that minimizes defensive behavior. The employee will regard the training session as mostly a waste of time or too basic; his complaints will invalidate potential learning.
    Whenever possible, connect the employee training to the employee's job and work objectives. If you work in an organization that invests in a self-development component in the appraisal process, make sure the connection to the plan is clear.
  • Favor employee training and development that has measurable objectives and specified outcomes that will transfer back to the job. Design or obtain employee training that has clearly stated objectives with measurable outcomes. Ascertain that the content leads the employee to attain the skill or information promised in the objectives.
    With this information in hand, the employee knows exactly what he can expect from the training session and is less likely to be disappointed. He will also have ways to apply the training to the accomplishment of real workplace objectives.