Does it strike you as odd that while many companies will reimburse college tuition if employees receive a B or higher grade, they balk at potentially failing participants in internal training and development programs. Mere attendance is typically enough to qualify as having “been trained.” Think about that….
One of several possibilities exist, it seems to me….
- Organizations perceive the quality of the education to be higher if it is provided by an accredited organization
- Companies are more willing to recklessly throw away more frequent, yet smaller amounts of funds for poorly quality experiences
- Provision of internally provided (or even contracted training programs) is simply paid lip service by organizational leadership
Go ahead and pick the most appropriate excuse for this financial irresponsibility. Really, it makes no difference. All provide the same result, subpar learning experiences that lack interactivity, accountability, and any more than cursory thought. Throw on top the amount of time (and associated productivity) lost when employees are in these training programs. What a waste….what a shame!
Although in still frightfully small numbers, the past several years have seen a growing trend toward companies insisting upon actual learning assessments (substantive ones, i.e., ones that truly drive the bottom line, not simply satisfaction with the learning “experience”). It makes sense, after all, to demonstrate the ROI of development dollars, particularly as these allocations become more and more stretched.
Chief Learning Officers seeking substantive and effective training programs would be best served to judge candidate programs using the following criteria:
- Measurement Instrumentation – Any program worth its weight in gold should be developed around metrics and a clear understanding of how success is to be determined. It’s critical that this be a customized measurement approach, speaking directly to the unique situation and conditions of the organization. Off the shelf solutions typically lack this specificity.
- Assessment Process – Just as you wouldn’t like favor an educational system for your children that only tested them in kindergarten and again upon high school graduation, quality training and development programs incorporate high-quality, on-going assessment and feedback into their structure. It’s not enough for individuals to be able to simply regurgitate information back at the end of a course. Their thought process and comprehension throughout the program is critical. And if individuals aren’t cutting it, they won’t complete the training. It’s just that simple.
- Facilitator Quality – Too often corporate trainers are those who have struggled themselves as operators, sales people, leaders. Yet, rather than refit them to better opportunities, organizations make them trainers. Worse yet, they take the best operators and leaders and make them trainers, with little concern over whether the individual have the competency to be skillful facilitators of other peoples’ learning. Ensure those providing training are the best you can find, whether internally or contracted. They need to understand adult learning principles, a variety of teaching methodologies, and have a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter.
- Ease and Convenience (without sacrificing quality) – One of the biggest costs of modern training programs is in direct travel costs and indirect lost productivity. webinars, webcasts, and recorded training programs are all the rage as a way to combat these costs. Yet, because they lack the aforementioned measurement, assessment, and (often) facilitator quality, they are low on the effectiveness scale, as well.
Now, imagine if one could find a training program that (through the creative and interactive use of technology) brought together the measurement and assessment pieces, where facilitated by college professors, and didn’t carry $5,000-$15,000 price tags. Well, such programs do exist, and at unbelievably affordable rates (for example, ~$40/hour per participant). But organizations need to know to do their research before grabbing onto the training program du jour. Be diligent about insisting on the four aspects of training, and the outcomes of your training programs will be apparent. Skimp on these four, and your lack of outcomes will continue to be obvious.