- Training’s place in your company’s strategic plan
- Selecting the proper training method
- An effective informal approach to training for budget-conscious businesses
- The effective informal approach applied to work readiness training
In the business community today, training is the new customer service. Back in the day (wow, I can’t believe I’m old enough to use that phrase without blinking), customer service was viewed as only a necessary expense. Then businesses started looking at providing superior customer service as a way to grow and maintain market share. In fact, when I was employed by Citibank in the 80’s, I developed a Bankcard Customer Service Profitability Model that quantified the additional revenues earned by providing superior service. During the research phase of the project I was also able to quantify the revenues earned thru the use of effective customer service to solve issues for customers who experienced problems.
Today, training is looked at by many as primarily employee development. However, when establishing and managing your company’s strategic plan (objectives, strategies, tactics, goals), training needs to be viewed as both a cost-cutting and profit-generating activity. Below is a simplified example for work readiness training:
Objective: reduce temp expenses
Strategy: lower employee absenteeism
Tactic: work readiness training
Tactic: hold employees accountable for their behaviors after training
Goal: reduce temp expenses by at least 20%
Goal: reduce employee absences by at least 30%
For more on this topic check out http://workreadiness.blogspot.com/2009/01/effective-training-results-in-lower.html.
So step one on the path to implementing a low-cost, informal training method in your workplace is to recognize the importance of not only training employees, but training employees effectively so that the training results in employee development and cost reduction/revenue generation.
II. Selecting the proper training method
When money is tight, training budgets are often one of the first line items cut (or eliminated). This sends managers looking for viable, less-expensive training methods. Taped media such as DVDs, online material (e-learning site, taped webinars, etc.), books with CDs, et al., are often substituted for live training events. Below is a list of training venues. The key to the list below is that the further down the list you get; the more self-motivated the participant must be for that training method to be effective. During live events the instructor has the responsibility for ensuring that the material is understood and good instructors also help motivate participants. When I teach/train, I can look in the participants’ faces and immediately know if they are lost, or if they at least think that they understand the concept being taught.
- Live Training Program
- Live Training Course
- Live Informal (Workplace)
- Live Webinar
- Pre-recorded Material
Now, many believe that having tests after participants view pre-recorded training media is one way to “Hans and Franz (Saturday Night Live) it” (pump it up). However, if the goal of the training is to modify behaviors and change attitudes as well as teaching knowledge, tests are inaccurate measures of whether or not the behaviors/skills learned will actually be deployed in the workplace (http://workreadiness.blogspot.com/2008/07/there-is-right-way-and-wrong-way-to.html).
Also, this encourages note-taking. When taking notes, participants turn their attention away from the training media. And that is usually done during the most important parts of the lesson, when the lesson turns to explaining the why so the concept being taught sticks. After all, tests are about the facts so that is when the future test-taker pays attention, and notes are written lagged to that portion of the lecture.
III. An effective informal approach to training for budget-conscious businesses
Okay, thanks for reading the set-up portion of the blog. Now I will present a generic training approach that by now you would expect will contain at least some live element.
One of the keys to determining an effective approach is to understand the difference between assessment-based training (e.g. schools) and competency-based training (e.g. workplace training). I am a big proponent of competency-based training, especially for the workplace where the goal is not knowledge, but use of that knowledge on the job. However, to use demonstrated competencies, you must craft air-tight competency statements. If your competency statements are not pinned down precisely, then no one can rely on them. If you need help crafting competency statements or developing/implementing/running a training program, call my voicemail 561-842-9942 and leave a message or email JayGoldberg@DTRConsulting.BIZ and write “training blog” in the subject line to assure the email is not discarded as junk mail
Jay Goldberg’s 6-step approach for an effective informal training program
- Define the outcomes for the training event (knowledge, skills, modified behavior, changed attitudes, etc.)
- Determine approach (live, pre-recorded, mixed; participant motivation is a key)
- How will the success of the training be measured (assessments or demonstrated competencies)
- Specific tools to use (video, book, web site, etc.)
- Tools implementation (training process)
- Accountability of participants after the training is concluded
- Modify behaviors and change attitudes (therefore need to explain why and use examples outside the workplace that participants can relate to)
- Participants are not highly motivated so must be at least some live element
- Demonstrated competencies are required, not assessment testing
- Use the book, “How to Get, Keep and Be Well Paid in a Job” (http://outskirtspress.com/webpage.php?ISBN=9781432725297); this book received a five star review from the Midwest Book Review; not only teaches the what and the how for workplaces but the why; and uses real life examples to help illustrate key points
- Have the participants read a chapter and then hold a meeting to discuss that chapter; repeat for all chapters
- Have a participant checklist to ensure everyone takes part in the discussion; have everyone acknowledge that they understand the material in that chapter; generate competency statements based on the material in the chapter being discussed; inform the participants that from that point forward they will be held accountable for demonstrating that competency (becomes part of the performance appraisal process)
See you in my next post.