So, your company has undertaken an organizational training initiative. The outcome, more than the organizational training itself, is what counts–-of course training results need to stick. Yes, staff has been through training. They know what they’re expected to do. Above all, you don’t want them going back to their desks asking, what next? What now? Turning training into continued action is a vital matter that goes beyond training days or months.
While more than 90 percent of respondents to a recent survey said that building employee capabilities was a top-ten priority for their organizations, only 25 percent said their training programs improved performance measurably. Your organization can be in that minority by ensuring training results last well beyond the timeframe in which the original training took place. Put these five approaches to sustain organizational training results to work for you and see training results last into the immediate future and well beyond.
1. Convince the Players
To meet their goals, trainees need to be apprised of the goals for them personally and how training efforts fit into the overall organizational plan. If they know why they’re being trained, they’ll better see how they can better aid the organization and how the organization itself will function in a new way.
In other words, make the trainees stakeholders in their own training.
Belief drives behavior. Ensure those at your company truly believe organizational training is vital and important. If they’re invested in the training from the beginning, they’ll be more engaged during training and thus better prepared to retain the lessons learned.
2. Practice, Meet, Brainstorm
Build in frequent reminders and ways to allow staff to practice what they’ve learned. This might involve continued role playing, access to technologies--like games--that let them continue to practice. Or at monthly meetings allow them to talk about how they implemented tools and strategies over that time period. In other words: check in often and continue to brainstorm, jumping off from where training ended.
3. Assess Retention and Know-How
Managers should continue to assess at regular intervals to determine whether the training is being applied. These assessments should take place on the job and, shortly after training, at regular intervals, such as every four weeks. If participants have retained what they’ve learned, assessment can move to quarterly reviews, which act to reinforce behaviors learned during initial training.
4. Keep Coaching
Training extends beyond a single event or session: managers should coach their team before, during, and after a training initiative. This helps individuals be fully ready for training, participate to their fullest during a session, and remember the lessons learned for time to come. To become training-oriented coaches, managers should:
- Connect with each individual to ensure the messages are clear to them
- Observe key behaviors among team members
- Bring clarity to a standard that is already in place and comparing current behaviors/practices against it
- Spell out explicitly what needs to be corrected, and what your expectation is
- Provide your support in meeting the expectations
With this approach, managers become a key component in assessing when and what kind of training is necessary and lessening the decay curve to keep training results fresh over time.
5. Call Upon Measurement Tools
Of course you’ll want to tie both the program and the measurement tools you use to key performance metrics. The measurement tools and the targeted training program will provide insights that will help managers continue to improve training outcomes in the months and years ahead.
What measures have you taken to sustain the results of organizational training? Let us know in the comments.