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Thursday, June 02, 2011

Better ROI from Change Driven Training

A few weeks ago, I received a request to conduct a Customer Service Training.  As usual, I asked the client why they want to have it. The answer I hoped  to hear was that they plan to launch a customer service program and that they expect the training to be customized to equip the employees to perform under the new program and policy. As usual, what I got was the typical answer that in effect says their employees lack the skill. And as usual, this triggered me to passionately lecture about the importance of having a training program that support organizational change initiatives as opposed to having a stand-alone program conducted as a knee-jerk reaction to a perceived training need.

A well thought out  organizational change initiative provides a motivation for people to learn the required skills both through training and workplace practice. A launching of  a Performance Management system for example will entice people to learn how to manage performance based on the embraced concept. A sales training based on the organization's adopted sales methodology enables people to demonstrate what is expected. Implementing a quality improvement program like quality circles or Kaizen will allow employees to use problem solving and decision making  tools immediately after the training. A creativity and Innovation training works best when the company that sponsored it is deliberately cultivating a culture of creativity through a culture building initiative. I can go on and on with examples but I'm feeling that you already get the drift.
So, do I oppose training given because of an identified need? Not necessarily.  I have a simple rule of thumb for that. For every training that you send your employee to, you must make your expectations clear and then make the employee accountable for demonstrating those required skills.  If you think about it, it's still change driven albeit on a personal basis.

Here's another rule of thumb. If you are to train a person to ride a bicycle, be sure there is one to ride, otherwise what's the use? A change initiative or an implementation of a new program, practice or technology, provide employees with clear means to apply their new knowledge, hence the ROI.

Here's a Strategic Training and Development Template that I created sometime ago. I just thought, I'd throw this in to help people in charge of training visualize how they can play their roles better.

Strat HRD Plan Template

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