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I am a M.A. in industrial/organizational psychology. Most of my experience has been in human resources and change management. My passion lies in employee assessment, organizational development and employee opinions. Website: www.IanMondrow.com LinkedIn Profile: http://linkd.in/drBYoC

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Balancing training and development programs for your team

Reference: Preston, A. (2009). Balancing training and development programmes for your team. Industrial and Commercial Training, 41(3), 142-145.
Reviewed by: Ian B. Mondrow, M.A.

Andy Preston is the Director and Head Trainer at Outstanding Results in Stockport, United Kingdom. Although Preston focuses on sales training, much of the content that he writes about can be applied to any department or industry. Preston speaks of his experiences interacting with companies and how they exclaim their training is ineffective. As a result, he compiled a list of four reasons as to why training can fail in an organization. The four reasons (and an unofficial reason) are as follows:

  1. TIMING. It can be claimed that the timing of training is crucial for its success. If training is too early, then the information may be forgotten. However, if it is too late, employees may see no value.
  2. CREDIBILITY. As previously demonstrated, timing plays a crucial component in the credibility of training. Furthermore, the attitudes of supervisors & managers impact the credibility. If a manager demonstrates that he/she does not approve training, then employees are less likely to take the training seriously. This is also true for senior level executives.
  3. INSPIRATION. A trainer must be enthusiastic about the content. If not showing inspiration, then the training will have no impact on its learners.
  4. LENGTH. If a training is too long, then the participates lose interest and engagement decreases. It is common for organizations to make their programs too long, especially new hire orientations. A more effective method is a series of formal training with on-the-job training.
  5. NO BALANCE BETWEEN EXTERNAL & INTERNAL. Internal personnel become very bored of seeing the same content repetitively. Hiring an external resource (such as a consultant or training firm) can provide a different perspective on the content. Organizations are missing out if they are not utilizing these resources.
  6. NOT FOLLOWING TRAINING THROUGH. After the completion of the training, it is vital to follow up. This is a common practice for organizations. Training should be followed with action plans, coaching and feedback to optimize the information learned in training.
Implications for Human Resources:
For a training program to be successful, HR professionals should...
  • Ensure that it is being administered in a timely fashion.
  • In addition, HR should attempt to achieve buy-in from supervisors and managers. Their support can assist in employee participation and engagement.
  • Utilize external consultants to develop innovative training and facilitate training sessions to bring variety to the organization.
  • Spread the training out over several days and ensure it is no longer than a few hours.
  • Follow-up with training by ensuring managers are modeling the new information and coaching employees on what they learned.
  • Ensure the facilitator is generally interested in the topic.

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