Cost reduction, quality improvement and optimizing talents are among the common daily challenges of managers today. Ability to manage these challenges effectively determines survival of organizations in today’s hyper competitive global business environment.
Many organizations are investing in training to manage above mentioned challenges. Government are facilitating this process through various initiatives including Human Resource Development Fund with Multi Million Ringgit yearly budget. The key question is: Are we getting the best value for money from training?
This article will explain how asking these 5 basic questions will help us to get best value from training investment.
- What training is required?
‘Diagnose before prescribe’ is very relevant to ensure effective training. Training intervention is the prescription. Among the most practical question we should ask before deciding the training intervention are:
- What are the performance issues?
We need to verify is the performance issues are due to ‘we don’t know what to do or we don’t do what we know’. Training will be valuable if the performance issues are due to ‘we don’t know what to do’. However, many organizations today have very well defined work procedures and structured orientation program to explain the work procedures. Moreover, access to information to do the right work is widely available. As such, we often ‘don’t do what we know! In this context, telling us again and again how to do our work may not be very effective. Let me share some example of not doing what we know from my experience. Stakeholder Analysis is a very basic and extremely important process in project management. This is a key activity during the project initiation phase. Some of the question we should ask and answers during stakeholder analysis are:
- Who are our key stakeholders?
- What are their requirements from the project?
- What are the potential challenges from them?
- What can we do to mitigate these challenges?
Asking and answering these basic questions will provide valuable input for the project planning process. Project managers who attended Fundamental Project Management training will know how to perform Project Stakeholder Analysis. The challenge is ‘do we do what we know’?
Workplace safety is another common challenge. The slogans like ‘Safety is Priority’ are common in many workplaces. Work place safety training is a mandatory requirement of Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA). However, many of my students from UTM Executive Masters of Occupational Safety & Health share their frustration that, even ensuring wearing of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is a challenge. In situations like this, do you think more safety training will improve safety performance? I don’t think so.
Doing the same thing and expecting different result is definition for insanity, according to Einsten. What shall we do to improve performance when the problem is ‘We don’t do what we know’? The answer is ‘Non Training Intervention’
- What is Non-Training Intervention?
Non-training interventions are the processes and actions to ensure employees do what they are supposed to do. Let’s go back to the topic of an employee not wearing PPE in the area they should. If any supervisor doesn’t notice this non-compliance and do not reprimand this unsafe act, it is a ‘REWARD’. Remember, safety is everybody’s responsibility, not only safety supervisors. Behaviour that is rewarded will be repeated. No amount of safety training will help if unsafe behaviour were rewarded. Thus, the first step to ensure value for money from training is asking, what training is required? Once, the training needs are clearly defined, we move to the next step, DESIGN of training.
- How to Design Effective Training?
Design of training is the process of determining the best approach to achieve the desired learning outcome. Answers to the following questions will provide valuable input for training design:
- What is the rationale for this training?
Providing a brief description of why the training is required will help us to stay focus with ‘end in mind’. Let me share an example of rationale for a training program we are currently working with a MNC. ‘The percentage of rejects is beyond acceptable tolerance level. Root cause analysis revealed that operator error is the main cause of the rejects. Thus, we shall improve the competency of the operators to ensure quality product’
- What is the desired Learning Outcome (LO)?
LO is the statement of the intended competency the learner is expected to demonstrate upon successful completion of the training program. The LO for the above mentioned program rationale can be ‘The operator will be able to perform the manual insertion in accordance with the operation guideline to ensure quality product’
- What are the desired Learning Program Objectives (LPO)
LPO is the discrete chunks of learning objectives. The training designer shall determine specific LPO to ensure a systematic process of building the learning content.
In my next blog, we will discuss the remaining 3 questions. We will also explore how to adopt the fundamental principles from Bloom’s Taxonomy to determine the right choice action verb to write the LO and LPO. I was first introduced to Bloom Taxanomy as a undergraduate student of 4 years Bachelor of Science Education Program in 1985.Bloom’s work provided great clarity to understand ability to create value with higher order thinking skill at workplace. Talk to you soon…….