Reducing cost, improving quality and optimizing talent are daily challenges of managers today. Ability to manage these challenges effectively determines survival of organizations in this hyper competitive global business environment. Many organizations are investing in training to manage above mentioned challenges.
The key question is: Are we getting the best value for money from training?
My 28 years of experience in training analysis and design has enabled me to help organizations to understand how to get the best value from their investment in training. This can be answered through these five basic questions.
- What causes the performance issues?
We need to verify if performance issues are because ‘we don’t know what to do’ or ‘we don’t do what we know’. Training becomes more valuable in the former case.
Today, many organizations have well defined work procedures and structured training programs to ensure competent employees. We need to ask ourselves whether these procedures and trainings contribute towards performance improvement. Let me share an example of ‘not doing what we know’.
While slogans such as ‘Safety is Priority’ is common in many workplaces, safe work practice is a common challenge. Workplace 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!
According to Einstein, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different result is the definition for insanity. What shall we do to improve performance when the problem is ‘We don’t do what we know’? The answer is ‘Non-Training Intervention’.
- Why training is not always the answer?
This might sound counter-intuitive coming from a training professional. However, performance improvement requires an integrated solution i.e. training and non-training interventions. Non-training interventions such as compliance to safety systems and procedures are critical to ensure skills obtained in trainings are applied. Going back to our employee who is not wearing PPE when they should be wearing it, a supervisor who doesn’t reprimand this unsafe act is indirectly rewarding the ‘culprit’. Behaviour that is rewarded will be repeated. Safety should be everyone’s responsibility in an organisation not just the safety department.
- 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’. An example of a training rationale is:
The result of OHSAS 18000 internal audit revealed significant non-compliance of safety procedures. This resulted in an increased unsafe acts and conditions. The Safety Committee recommended behaviour based safety for all levels of employees to improve safety performance.
- 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 could be ‘The course participants will be able to perform their task in accordance with organization’s safety procedures’.
- What are the desired Learning Program Objectives (LPO)
LPO is a way to structure, sequence and plan out learning goals for a specific learning outcome. The training designer shall determine LPO to ensure a systematic process of building the learning content. In the above context, LPO could be:
- Define unsafe act and conditions
- Describe common cause of accidents
- Determine effective actions to prevent accident
In a nutshell, asking and answering these five questions will help you get the best value for your training investment.