Strategizing for Profitability: Overcoming Haunting Training Problems (Part 3)

Updated: October 11, 2010

Ghouls that Disrupt Training Programs

An effective selection system does not guarantee that employees will be successful on the job. A training and development program that delivers the desired results is absolutely required to ensure that each employee is contributing positively to a company's bottom line. To get the results you want, however, you need to address a number of spooky training issues. If you think you are being haunted by uncontrollable poltergeists that disrupt your training and development programs, you are not alone!

The following training ghouls have created hair-raising disturbances in companies for a long time:

  • High training costs. Training costs are escalating because designing, delivering, and managing training programs are becoming significantly more complex.
  • Limited training time. Given the number of business challenges requiring attention today, the amount of time available for training employees keeps shrinking.
  • Inadequate training content. Training programs often do not provide relevant, comprehensive information to employees in all major subject matter areas.
  • Poor follow through. Most organizations have difficulties in providing effective on-the-job development opportunities after employees complete formal classroom training.
  • Motivation and capability issues. Money spent on training unmotivated employees who are not capable of learning is an expense that has hair-raising effects on a company's profitability.
  • Poor retention. Since the amount of information needed for job success continues to grow, most employees find it difficult to remember everything covered in training programs.

Although companies tend to struggle with various specters that interfere with daily business operations, certain techniques can be used to minimize the disturbances created by these invisible forces.

Ghostbusting Strategies that Work

If you want to address issues that historically have strangled your business profitability, consider the following measures when designing or enhancing your training programs:

BizTip #1 - Link your training programs to the hiring process.

If employees cannot succeed in your training programs, they are unlikely to succeed on the job. Therefore, make sure that you identify and hire employees who have the required skills, abilities, and traits for learning what is needed for effective job performance.

BizTip #2 - Incorporate "accelerated learning" principles and techniques.

A large, scientific body of knowledge about human learning has developed over the past three decades. These findings have practical implications for developing training programs that promote faster learning, motivate people to learn, and increase the retention of information.

BizTip #3 - Communicate high expectations.

Research has shown that people tend to attain a level of achievement corresponding to expectations that are clearly and consistently communicated. Training programs that do not emphasize personal responsibility for learning and the importance of mastering job-related skills typically fail to encourage employees to meet job expectations.

BizTip #4 - Provide regular feedback to individuals.

If people do not know how they are performing in a training program or what they can do to improve job performance, they will probably not make any attempt to improve. Providing feedback to employees regarding their knowledge and skills usually motivates individuals to make improvements in the required areas.

BizTip #5 - Recognize and reward good performance.

Most training programs do not make adequate use of motivational techniques that encourage employees to work harder and learn more. Recognizing and rewarding certain behaviors can contribute significantly to improving performance in learning environments and on the job.

What's in Your Training Bag of Tricks?

The haunting issues of exorbitant training costs, insufficient training time, poorly motivated employees, and inadequate retention of information can be managed to some extent by ensuring that your training programs involve the right "content" and "process." The kind of information provided to employees and how the information is conveyed contribute both to training success and job success.

Most companies realize the importance of providing training to their employees in all crucial areas. But few organizations use techniques that speed up the learning process and help employees apply what they learn. Being comprehensive without employing effective learning techniques normally will not give organizations the results they need.

Training and development programs should be designed to accelerate learning while providing all the information needed for effective job performance. To overcome your business challenges, consider including the following design features in your training programs:

BizTip #6 - Maximize efficiency by structuring the learning process.

Both classroom and on-the-job activities should be highly structured to help employees get the most out of learning in the time available. Information provided earlier in a training program should create "building blocks" for information provided later.

BizTip #7 - Promote an accelerated learning environment.

All aspects of a training program should optimize learning by creating a relaxed but stimulating atmosphere. Research has shown that people learn faster and remember more when the learning experience is interesting and fun.

BizTip #8 - Focus on all key subject matter areas.

Make sure that your training programs cover all technical and nontechnical areas that contribute to job success. Don't forget about nontechnical subject matter relating to customer service, safety, and documentation.

BizTip #9 - Emphasize the application of knowledge.

"Hands-on" learning should be emphasized to meet the learning needs of employees. Consistently remind employees of what they are expected to learn and why they need to know the material. This approach to learning establishes expectations and highlights the practical significance of the information being conveyed..

BizTip #10 - Use collaborative learning techniques.

Studies have indicated that communication, cooperation, and teamwork help people learn material faster. Training programs should include a variety of classroom and on-the-job activities that foster collaboration and problem solving among employees.

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