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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Ideal Learning Conditions

First I'm going to rant and then I'm going to propose solutions.

There are times when I wish I could tell clients they can just pay for the training certificates so they don't need to bother sending their people to a whole or two-day training and avoid having to pull them out when they need them. Here are a few pet peeves:
  1. Participants who don't know why they were sent to training – Some participants resent attending training because they are utterly clueless why they're there. I imagine how irritating it would be to be sent to the same training a number of times without the boss discussing why.
  2. Training that are held in the client's office where participants are pulled out once in a while to do some work - I really can't understand the idea of sending people to training and then asking them to skip a few hours because they have work to do. It's obvious that people who do this think learning equals attendance certificate.
  3. Claustrophobic venue and 30 participants - on a number of occasion, I have been asked to run a program in a small venue brimming with participants. When I express my space requirements, client will say this is all we have while pointing to a small room, you either take it or leave it. Of course, I will take it but it diminishes the learning experience due to space limitations.
  4. Bosses who are not interested in the content of the program - this often becomes an area of concern for participants. They attend the training, like the program, but worry that their bosses won't appreciate the changes they want to make. This happens when HR “requires” managers to send participants rather than sell the program to them by presenting learning objectives and content and aligning them with strategic and operational objectives.
  5. Participants who don't need the training - poor TNA leads to participants wasting their time in the classroom either because, they already have the skills or they don't need it in their work.
  6. Training that does not support the company's culture or vice versa - companies send their people to customer service training but there is no concrete plan to change organizational service culture. Some also send their employees to problem solving and decision making training and yet they are not empowered to make decisions. 

Nine out of 10 training programs that I run have at least one of these problems.  In some cases, the training is an utter waste of time because too many of these conditions exist. If you are in charge of training in your company, and you see these happening, you have to do better. You need to show some leadership and involve, no, make the managers accountable for their contribution to people development.  Here are some suggested things for you to do.
  1. Develop a holistic learning and development strategy that clearly aligns interventions with strategic directions of the organizations or departments.  Work with the managers in putting together competencies and behavioral expectations. Design or commission (to me) the designing of tailor-fitted programs to address competency gaps. If they understand how the program can help them in managing their people, we might have more eager managers sending their participants to  a learning event.
  2. Establish some guidelines and develop tools to equip managers in facilitating conversations with their staff regarding the training they will attend and the expectations on what they are expected to do in return.
  3. Have a blood compact with your managers not pull participants out during training. Yes, even if it just for a 30-minute quick meeting.
  4. Yes, training venue is important. We’re talking more than just space here, we’re talking ample space! One where participants can break out into groups, do activities together have learning conversations and just be creative. Some training managers take this for granted but this impacts on participants’ focus, and quality of learning experience. If you are a small company with no venue in the office, don’t force it, rent one.
  5. Work with managers in developing and reviewing curriculum. Make sure that the managers know the content of the program to the level that they can discuss their learning and performance expectations with their staff. Or better yet, have the attend the training. I always find it a good sign when the managers attend training their staff is supposed to attend.
  6. Do a really thorough TNA. Believe me, you’ll save money by seeing to it that people are attending the right training and not just trying to comply with the requirements of attending without appreciating the contents of the program

 Training is more than just sitting in class for hours or maybe two days and then receive a certificate. I believe it is the important job of those in charge with learning and development to ensure that the right conditions are there for maximizing learning.

ExeQserve help companies establish their training and development plans. call us at 8933199 if you need help in establishing your strategies.

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