Until recently, training has been viewed as a low priority for many companies, and because of this, it often fails. Surprisingly, since 2014 there has been a 15% increase in training investment and more organizations are mindful of the potential ROI of a properly executed training program.
Gone are the days when an employee sticks with a company to eventually learn the ins and outs of the job. In fact, almost 50% of employees who feel they haven’t received proper training leave within one year. That’s half of your investment out the window!
Fortunately, there are foolproof ways to ensure you have a successful training program and therefore, you can better retain and nurture your acquired talent. We’ve taken the top 5 reasons that training programs fail and turned them into ways to ensure your program does not.
1) Stop viewing instructor-led or “new hire” training as a magic solution. Some organizations believe that with enough training, they can take an unskilled employee and turn them into a fine-tuned producer. What these organizations fail to realize is that almost all of the information (90%) delivered by the instructor during new hire training is forgotten once the employee begins their job. To assume that every employee comes out of their initial training fully-skilled and ready to produce is not practical. Remember, initial ILT is NOT a magic solution but rather only the jumping off point for your employees’ career-long learning.
2) Always assess the needs of your learners. How can your training be effective if you don’t know the needs of your trainees? Too often companies’ design their training under the assumption of what their trainees need to know, not based on learner’s actual skills. The first move of any successful training program should be to assess the needs of your learners. Conduct a pre-assessment to figure out what skills and knowledge are already inherent in your learners and what they need to work on. This is the only predictable way to determine the areas on which your training needs to focus most.
3) Put more thought into design and delivery of your training program. Keeping the needs assessment you have already conducted in mind, determine the best design and delivery for your program. How will your learners practice and test their knowledge? How will you conduct assessments throughout the program? What sort of techniques will you bring into the mix? What about technology- what types will you use? Consider your learners closely when designing your program and make sure it suits their learning styles. Also, concentrate on how you will deliver the materials to your learners. Digital and mobile options are growing in popularity because of their accessibility and ease-of-use. Consider all methods of design and delivery that fit your audience.
4) Be a master evaluator. Evaluation is one of the key areas that is overlooked in corporate training, but it can have a huge impact on success. Take full advantage of all 4 Levels of Evaluation, not just 1 or 2 of them. Often trainers get positive feedback from their learners and assume that their training must be working. But that feedback is only one of the levels of evaluation. You must analyze the four levels to prove whether or not your training is working. Even the most advanced technology and attractive design are not meaningful without data to prove their effectiveness. Consider using software that gives you thorough data and reporting to save time and energy. Then don’t forget to USE the data to continually improve your training outcomes.
5) Don’t neglect the power of follow-up and performance support. Do matter how successful your training program, you can’t forget the follow-up. Closing the skills gap depends on the accessibility your learners have to their materials after training concludes. We must focus on reinforcing the training program by giving our employees ready access to their training materials for reference, ideally in the format they prefer. Mobile is an area that can’t be ignored for reference materials. Think of the impact on your business, if your learners had the information they need, when they need it, right at their fingertips. Be there for your employees for performance support and make their transition into their roles seamless. Offer many opportunities for ongoing training and professional development as well, so that your employees know you are invested in their success.
A training program is only as good as what goes into it and what is retained from it. Remember these five keys to success to avoiding the common pitfalls that lead to training failure and a widened skills gap.
Sources: “So Much Training, So Little to Show For it” by Rachel Emma Silverman, wsj.com; “Spending On Corporate Training Soars: Employee Capabilities Now a Priority” by Josh Bersin, forbes.com; “Importance of Training and Development in an Organization” by Bhanu Chopra, economictimes.com.