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According to Training Magazine, training spending in the United States in 2015 was $ 70 billion. Small businesses spent an average of $ 1,105 per employee, which does not include time spent on training. This level of investment was more than double the investment of large companies in employee training. Yet while many companies understand the importance of developing talent, they too often fail to achieve a return on their investment. In a 2010 survey, McKinsey & Co. found that only 25 percent of respondents believed training improved employee performance. Before committing financial resources and human capital to develop your leadership and workforce, ask yourself these questions.
1. Is the employee ready for training?
When I run my coaching workshops, I start with an exercise to understand the level of engagement of my audiences. I ask them to place a post-it on a booming target; the closer they place the grade to the center, the more interested they are in the workshop and the more ready they are to learn.
If you need to push an employee for training, this is a red flag and a great talking point to have with them at an upcoming 1-1 meeting. Make sure you ask questions and understand why they aren’t appropriate.
It’s simple: don’t waste your money on someone who isn’t interested in training.
2. How does the training help the employee and the organization?
Well-structured business plans will give you the answer to both sides of this question. Too often, managers do not take the time to work with their employees on development plans. Without a plan, training becomes an afterthought, not strategic to the needs of the employee and the organization. Training should focus on filling a skills gap or a core competency that will help the employee be more successful in their current job, or prepare the employee for a future responsibility or position.
Development plans should be linked to employee and organizational goals, documented annually and reviewed quarterly at 1-1 meetings.
3. How will the training be delivered?
The way training is delivered has an impact on the amount of new knowledge retained and used. Training research has shown that there are several key factors for successful training.
For example, people have different learning preferences. One person will jump at the chance to read a book while another person searches for the audiobook. When I create development plans before a coaching engagement, I always ask the executive what their preferred learning method is. Don’t confuse learning preferences with learning styles, which is a âneuromytheâ.
In addition, learning takes place over time. It doesn’t happen just by sitting in a classroom or watching a webinar. This is why so many organizations will use learning spaced over a period of time to build on prior knowledge and reinforce learning.
The important thing is to evaluate the training. Make sure it reflects the employee’s learning preference and whether new knowledge is transmitted gradually over time.
4. When will the new knowledge be used?
The answer to this question is extremely important for getting results. The Ebbinghaus forgetting curve shows that new knowledge will be halved in a matter of days unless new things are considered and / or implemented. If new skills and techniques are not implemented soon after training, learning will be lost and investment in training will be wasted.
As a manager, you must understand the expected results of the training before your employee goes to the training and identify with him the immediate actions that can be taken after the training, which will reinforce the new knowledge acquired.
This is why it is a good idea to meet your employee before the start of the training and understand what job he / she will be doing in the days following the training.
Most importantly, you need to have a plan to make the training effective. So, before you commit to investing in your employee development, stop first and ask yourself these four important questions. Taking the time to answer them will greatly improve the success of the training.