Prep Time: Key to Maximum Training Impact

Christine Johnson, President, Cued Forward on

One of the biggest challenges organizations face with offering training programs is whether or not employees are retaining and using what they learned to increase their participation in the workplace.  This could be through increased productivity, better communications with their team, or improved strategic planning.  While the use of targeted metrics to measure goals has become one of the norms to determine learning success after the training, organizations who develop a targeted plan before implementing a training program or hiring a vendor can see the impact of training and employees’ real learning increase.

Let’s take a look at a few indicators to review before starting a training program or hiring a vendor.

Checking employees’ learning heartbeat 

Employees have to be motivated to learn.  Some employees have their own internal motivation and are open to new learning experiences.  Others have to be convinced there is value in spending their time and energy on something not directly related to their daily to-do list.  Still others will push back even if the training is required.  In fact, pushing training those already reluctant to participate will likely result in little to no retention.

If a large number of employees fall into the third category, you may need to develop an internal communication and marketing strategy and ensure top management support is visible.  And while this might sound crazy, dollars and time spent on learning and development are limited; you don’t want the learning experience to fail before it even had a chance.

The link: Training and organizational goals

Organizations spend a lot of time planning – short term goals, strategic initiatives, long term planning – to be successful.  These goals are referenced when deciding inventory levels, product design, and hiring levels.  Sometimes, however, they are overlooked or only “glanced over” when designing employee learning experiences causing a potential disconnect between where the organization is headed and where employees’ skillsets are going.  This can cause a lack of employees ready to move into roles that are needed to align with an organization’s growth.

Learning approach key to take-off

With more options of formalized learning programs, the method of training used is as important as the training itself.  In general, our attention spans are shorter with social media as a primary culprit.  Knowing this, learning options may need to cover a wide spectrum styles and lengths.  A webinar or seminar might need to be followed up with a microlearning session or a quick blog to read.

Since learning experiences are definitely not one-size-fits-all, tailoring the training to the audience or offering dual options, such as in-person training or a video of the training, will increase participation and the likelihood that the knowledge gained will be transferred to the workplace.

It’s great to want to have a learning culture in your organization, but failure to prepare for learning experiences even when you know the topic could give less than stellar training results.  Like the saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” training prep is as important as important as measuring the “after” metrics in order to maximize dollar and knowledge ROI.

Image credit: Unsplash

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