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Is Training the BEST it Can Be?

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Companies are constantly challenged to upgrade their business performance, respond to competitive challenges, adjust to buyer wants/needs/expectations, and do so efficiently and profitably.  The capabilities and competencies that employees had when they were hired; even those that may have been truly, “best in class” at the time, quickly become outdated and on the slope to irrelevancy.  The default assumption of many executives is that training is often expensive, does not accomplish what is designed to do, and is time consuming.  So, training (if it is done at all) is done “on the cheap” and is seen as an expense to be minimized, rather than as an investment in the company’s ongoing success and future.

There is a better way to meet the ongoing developmental needs of the organization.

The BEST Model

The training model to follow is referred to as “BEST” because each letter represents a focus of the training.

B – Behavior: What are the behaviors the company requires of employees to make improvements, achieve results, and accomplish the needed outcomes?  How does the culture of the organization need to change in order to facilitate the kinds of outcomes being sought?

E – Education: What are the knowledge components that employees must have to succeed?  What do employees need to know or recognize in order for them to do their jobs in the constantly evolving environment?

S – Skills: What are the specific competencies, tasks to be completed, capabilities to be performed in order for jobs to be done correctly?  What mastery of new tools (technology, process, or other) are required?

T – Traits: What are the unique characteristics that employees either need to have prior to hire, or need to develop for the organization to be competitive?  Matching roles and capabilities of specific functions and jobs to an individual’s personal strengths, interests, and personality can ensure alignment with business requirements.

The ladder of success requires well-trained employees.

The ladder of success requires well-trained employees.

Training that is not supportive of one or more of these objectives is going to fall short of the goal and will result in sub-optimized results.  For training to be effective, it has to help transition the employee from one level of performance to a higher one that impacts the organization’s ability to achieve company strategies and goals.

Further, if the training is not going to accomplish results for either/both the employee and organization, the level of employee engagement will suffer.  Employees are too busy, organizations’ are too time-compressed, and resources are stretched too tightly to allow for non-relevant training to occur.  Training has to directly impact the performance and measurements of success or it will not receive the endorsement and application by the intended trainee population.  A recent article in the Harvard Business Review blog on Employee Engagement delved into the importance of the  concept to the organization’s objectives by pointing out that companies with engaged employees are 22% more productive than those that have disengaged employees.

One of the key differences between companies that have engaged employees and those that do not is the level of training that is being done within the company.  Jim Harter, of Gartner Research, was quoted in the the blog, “When employees “clearly know their role, have what they need to fulfill their role, and can see the connection between their role and the overall organizational purpose, that’s the recipe for creating greater levels of engagement.”  And, isn’t that what is BEST for all?

David Zahn

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