Five steps to better training outcomes
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from Getting Personal About Business, the blog of Zahn Consulting, LLC.
One sure way to get managers and employees to roll their eyes and all but wish for a short-term illness is to announce that they are to attend or participate in a company-sponsored training session. As someone who makes his living through training and employee development initiatives, I wince each time I see it happen. Can my work be viewed as so irrelevant that people would rather be sick than partake?
With the best of intentions, however, an unrealistic set of expectations often governs these efforts. Among the misfires:
- Misalignment between the intentions of employee development efforts and execution.
- A mistaken belief by HR leaders that managers will provide good development plans and opportunities for their subordinates.
- An assumption that employees can and will assume responsibility for their own development.
Here are five suggestions for melding the desired outcomes with what is practical and feasible:
- Reduce expectations from grandiose "boil the ocean" type endeavors to more tactical and manageable ones.
- Allow managers to set developmental goals rather than employees. They are in a better position to assess needs and to allocate resources against those needs.
- Use experience rather than exposure, lecture, demonstration or observation of others to develop employees. Experience allows the employee to recognize the behavior in the context in which it is performed.
- Make development plans part of the performance appraisal process. Whereas most employee reviews occur once a year and may allude to things to work on in the coming year, the reality for many is that it is rarely referenced again and has no "teeth" or consequences if not met (for either manager or employee).
- Integrate accountability for managers into the process. If managers are evaluated (compensation impacts, promotion opportunities, ratings, etc.) on their development efforts and successes, they will receive far more time and attention than if viewed as a "nice to do" efforts. If managers claim that they have no time to do this for all their employees, have them at least do it for those with the highest potential.
Why are so many employee training sessions ineffective? What would you add to the suggestions in the article on how to drive better outcomes?