Training - Get it Right and Realise the Value

In their 'Training Platform’ blog, some time ago Ken Livingstone and Amy Burrell looked at what can happen if training goes wrong. The blog highlighted some common mistakes in the commissioning and delivery of training that, if avoided significantly increase its effectiveness, the longer lasting effects and the delegate experience.

At Maybo,  we  work hard to assist our clients to make the right choices about their staff training, matching training content and skill levels to staff roles and experience. We thought the blog would provide a useful checklist for anyone commissioning training. The content has been edited slightly to shorten the piece and avoid repetition and although there are references to the security industry, the intent is relevant across all sectors.

So, what are the common errors made in relation to commissioning and delivering training? What are the negative impacts of poor training, and how can you avoid 'getting training wrong'?

Commissioning and developing training can be complex in process and procedure, and there are a number of common pitfalls.

Training is commissioned for the wrong reasons

Training can be seen as a quick fix if there's a problem. Although we are strong advocates of training, we would caution that the wrong approach to training might not fix the problem. For example, it may be tempting to respond to the poor performance of a security team by training all of the security officers. If, however, you subsequently find that the inefficiency in the team is focused on the team supervisor then the training is unlikely to have dealt with the problem. Instead, it would have been more useful to train the supervisor.

Putting the wrong people on the wrong course

Different people have different training needs. There's no benefit in making someone attend a course when they already have the necessary skills and these skills are up-to-date. Similarly, there's no need to train people in an area which isn't relevant to their role.

Lack of interest in a 'boring' subject

This results in learners either refusing to attend necessary training or arriving at that training with a negative attitude,  limiting the potential value of the training. It's important that learners buy into the learning process. If they're not motivated to attend training sessions then they're less likely to realise the full impact of that training.

Choosing the wrong delivery method

For example, opting for e-learning when face-to-face training might be more appropriate for the topic and/or the learners involved.

Going for the cheaper option even though it's not quite 'fit for purpose'

It's tempting to go for the least expensive option, particularly when budgets are under pressure. However, it would be more cost-effective to invest in one really good quality course than a number of poor quality courses.

There is too much focus on the training day rather than the long term benefits of the training

While we want learners to focus on getting the most out of training sessions, the training will be of limited benefit if they forget all the good practice when they return to their working environment. Failing to link training to tasks in the workplace limits the long term benefits of training. It's also important that learners are given the opportunity and time to experiment with new approaches once they return to their role.

Forgetting to complete refresher courses

Just because someone has completed a course at one time, this doesn't mean that they're able to do the task effectively forever more. It's important that people attend refresher courses to ensure their knowledge and skills stay up-to-date.

Assessing the impact of poor quality training

Training budgets are often one of the first to be cut during an economic downturn. The effects of reducing the training budget might not be evident on an immediate basis, but cracks will show over time and the business may suffer.

Organisations that do not invest in training are characterised by poor employee performance, reduced service and product quality, low morale and poor employee retention rates.

Negative impacts are not just associated with lack of training but also poor quality training. Poorly conceived training rarely leads to positive long term behavioural change.

It's also important to:

  • not be afraid to invest in training
  • not limit yourself to off-the-shelf training packages: they might not be fit for purpose - many training companies will tailor an existing course to meet you requirements and or develop a bespoke training option for you
  • focus on quality of training over quantity of training

Key points to be remembered

The key is to remember there's no point in training for training's sake. Training will not fulfil your expectations if it's poorly conceived. The focus should be placed on quality over quantity and time taken to ensure the right people are placed on the right courses.

Ensuring that the course is fit for purpose with training objectives that are clearly linked to tasking in the workplace is vitally important. Selecting the most appropriate people to attend and getting them to buy into the training process are crucial to the success of any training programme.


Posted by Maybo on December 5, 2012


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