As the recession is allegedly over and the economy staggers back to a “new normal,” many companies are having to confront the issues surrounding whether or not to train their employees. During the recession, many companies eliminated or significantly reduced the amount of training they provided. Under the belief that training was an expense that could not easily be quantified and often did not directly contribute to generating revenue, cutting costs, or other more easily calculated benefits, numerous companies decided to forego employee development and preferred to focus on what they saw as more essential requirements of running the business and maintaining revenue streams. Of course, that decision just further exacerbated what was already a downward spiral into an even faster falling business. The lack of skills, processes, methods, or competencies became even more apparent when customers were even more discerning about where they chose to spend their limited money and could choose from numerous options.
To Train or Not
With companies trying to get back on track and improve their business results as their confidence in the economy slowly rebounds, the importance of training is becoming a topic of conversation that many business owners and entrepreneurs are now entertaining again. One client of mine recently posed a question to me that was generated by the recognition of the importance of training in career development, customer service, and business performance. The question posed was:
Is it more harmful to train poorly or to not train at all?
This client was trying to implement a peer training approach where an employes would be responsible for conducting a short (15 minute) training session to other employees on topics of their own choosing that would introduce new skills, reinforce current competencies, and establish a company-specific way of doing various tasks. Unfortunately, the results were less than satisfactory. So much so, that the client began to wonder if bad training was actually more harmful to emnployees than not doing any training at all.
Worth The Effort
Training should be an essential part of any organization’s mission. However, if not done correctly – it can cause confusion on how tasks are to be done, misalignment on roles and expectiations, and less success due to poor performance. One recent study demonstrated the importance of training to both the employee and the employer. The results are increased motivation, communication, business results, and employee retention. While it is worth the effort, it also must be done correctly for the results to be achieved.
One of the most straightforward ways to think about the training process is summed up in the abbreviation – ADDIE. ADDIE stands for Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation. The specifics of the process are:
Analysis – the trainer would assess the organizatonal needs, business issues, and the best approach to learning to be incorporated into the training.
Design – This phase of the process details the learning objectives used to design the training and the specific content to be included in the training.
Development – In this phase, the tactical creation of the training (exercises, lectures, demonstrations, etc.) is built and prepared for the training.
Implementation – During implementation the rollout of the training is conducted and the training is delivered to the trainee population.
Evaluation – at the conclusion of the training, the measurement of success is conducted. Feedback is provided and determinations of the impact of the training is determined.
This somewhat simple approach ensures that the needs of the organization and the learner are incorporated, that the appropriate methods are integrated into the design and development of the training, that training occurs as appropriate, and that the scorecard measures of the training are directly relevant to the needs of the business identified in the Analysis phase.
Training is not always easy to do correctly and can be time consuming and requires allocation of resources that can be directed elsewhere. However, if you think training is expensive – try ignorance!