Getting your Organization to Focus on Training
“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.”― John C. Maxwell
Unfortunately, many companies are short-sighted when it comes to the training and development of its people. There are monetary, personnel, and time constraints that have to be considered and allocated in order for a training program to work. Many companies simply look at these as costs and aren’t fully able to realize what the benefit (ROI) will be when the program has been put into place. This is mainly because most Training Managers or Directors aren’t capable of putting together a solid plan. This article is a starting point to building a program and should help you as well as your company get on the correct path.
It is likely going to take a culture and paradigm shift within your company regardless if you are trying to revamp an old program, begin a new training program, or beef up a current program due to changes in the company. This is no easy task and will take some diligence on your part if you are in charge of or involved in corporate training of any kind. To facilitate and drive this culture shift you have to be able to align training with the tactical and strategic goals of the company. To do this you have to ask the right questions so that you can start to layout what your program should entail. First you need to understand the foundation of what your program is encompassing. Your training program must be very specifically laid out with attention paid to these main areas:
- Improving Structure and Process
- Culture reshaping
- Process redesign
- Improving Resources
- Effectiveness and human factors
- Physical resources management
- Improving Information
- Knowledge management
- Communication process redesign
- Improving Knowledge and Skills
- Action learning or training projects
- Competency modeling/performance
- Improving Motives
- Reward and recognition systems
- Compensation systems
To understand how YOUR needs fit into the categories above you should begin your program architecture from a holistic, collaborative standpoint. All stakeholders in your company need to have a say in the direction of where training is going and how it is going to get there. Starting with the end in mind to establish the foundation of the program is essential. As an initial step, a focus group or committee should be put together to ask the tough questions before any go-forward work is initiated to ensure that all avenues are explored. This will allow the group to define the depth of the program, what metrics need to be measured, and what standards need to be established. Amassed below are a few of the essential questions that you should probably be asking:
- Define goals, roles, and responsibilities of the training program.
- Who are the stakeholders that will be responsible for this?
- In the midst of collaboration how do you maintain a singular message?
- What data will be collected to track development? In short, what measurable do we use to evaluate the program? To evaluate the learners?
- Curriculum design is a crucial element in training; what needs do we need to meet immediately, in the short-term, and down the road for the employees?
- What tools are going to continue to be used and what new tools make sense to add?
- What will the process of training development look like and how do you make it sustainable yet dynamic?
- How is e-learning going to be blended into the program?
- How are the employees going to be motivated to learn?
- How will information be delivered downstream in the future?
- Where do the current deficiencies or gaps reside with employees?
These questions are simply a start. There are more questions that should be asked and places that these and other questions will take both you and the stakeholders. The bottom line is simply that the right questions be asked now and not down the road after a process has been prematurely implemented. Once you have answered these questions, begin to build an outline of training needs. Start with your most immediate gaps and work backward. What areas do you need the most help in? Once you have this laid out you can begin to see what divisions within the company need the most attention.
The next part is the tricky part. You have to begin to plan out the scope of what your training program is going to look like. You will need to take into account budget, timeline for each stage of the process, and who will be responsible for the different facets therein. Once you have this in place you can begin to put together a Gantt Chart of how things will unfold.
This will give you a 30,000 foot view of what your company will need. Next you will have to dig into each gap area and decide how you are going to address them. This deep dive can get difficult at times but is intrinsic to the program’s effectiveness. If you get hung up on this or any other part you can reach out to me here and I will give you a hand.