THE COMPONENTS AND PROCESS

OF DEVELOPING EXCELLENT

TRAINING

……….And what happens when you don’t!

 

A word about the effect of leader expectations on individual and departmental performance which extends to the impact of a leader’s expectations on the outcome of training as well.

 

LEADER/MANAGER EFFECTIVENESS

Scientific research reveals: 

  • A leader’s expectations of his subordinates and the way he treats them has a significant impact on their performance and developmental progress.   This area was also addressed in an earlier post on Engagement & Management Practices

  • Superior leaders have a unique characteristic of being able to create high performance expectations that their subordinates fulfill.

  • Less effective leaders fail to develop similar expectations and the consequence is lower productivity and less development of their subordinates.

  • Subordinates, more often than not, appear to do & accomplish what they believe they are expected to do & accomplish.

From: Management of Organizational Behavior by Hershey and Blanchard

 

CREATING AN EFFECTIVE TRAINING PROCESS

Build TRAINING around acquiring knowledge about the company and the department and around the job’s DELIVERABLES & ACCOUNTABILITIES .  Adjust according to the employee’s knowledge and ability when they walk in the door.  Try to avoid “a one size fits all” approach to training.

Primary goal – create understanding and proficiency over a set period of time so the employee is able to execute responsibilities and achieve objectives.  

 Training, and specific components of the training, should be pegged to a time line that is being monitored by both the employee and the manager.  

Training should be a shared responsibility. 

KEY POINTS

 SET TRAINING GOALS OR MILESTONES PEGGED TO SPECIFIC DATES

 

 

 MANAGER AND EMPLOYEE SHARE RESPONSIBILITY FOR MONITORING SUCCESS IN ACHIEVING TRAINING GOALS

 

 

Poorly structured and delivered training has a negative impact on hiring ROI. 

A company or organization pays full salary from day 1, but typically does not reap the equivalent in output from day 1.   The longer it takes an employee to reach full productivity the lower your return on the cost of the hire and all the monies paid out from the start date.  

The inability to do the job well also impacts the level of engagement an employee will achieve.

Their lack of productivity also impacts the productivity of those with whom they must interact.  Ultimately, all of this sub-optimal output affects the quality of service and products you deliver to your customers.

Hiring the square peg that fits the square hole to avoid training is not the answer, that just presents different challenges at another time, see post Selecting for High Levels of Employee Engagement.  

The answer is to “select” the correct combination of skills, education, aptitudes and experience – temperament counts too! Then create effective On-boarding and Training processes.

 

AN EXAMPLE OF HOW TRAINING CAN GO WRONG:

At Company A, following the analysis of the Employee Perception Survey, follow-up initiatives and solicited new employee feedback, it became quite clear that too many employees felt less than competent in executing their job responsibilities.

The training process for most jobs consisted of manager’s completing and filing a check off form.   All this form really indicated was that the person knew certain techniques that would be used in their job.   Completion of the form had nothing to do with being able execute job specific processes. It didn’t indicate an understanding of the order of execution of processes, the ability to understand and follow regulated procedures or understand the repercussions of mis-steps.  Bottom line, Checking off the list of skills on the training forms did not mean competence in executing job responsibilities and deliverables.  These training forms were little more than pieces of paper for the file to satisfy company procedures written to meet the requirements of outside regulatory agencies.

Sound familiar?

 Actual job training was neither planned nor sequential relative to the order in which processes were executed and there was little monitoring of how an employee was doing.  New employees were left with little choice but to constantly ask others for assistance.  This was a case of the blind leading the blind.  The lack of understanding about quality procedures and regulations was pervasive resulting in deterioration of adherence to them.  Improvised solutions were being applied in production to get product and components through quality testing.

Employees for most jobs should have been fully proficient within 4 – 6 months.  In doing a review with managers on the status of the readiness of staff to perform all of the functions that were part of their job descriptions, we found that even employees with 12 months of service could not meet this basic expectation. These competency shortfalls increased the workload of others, caused errors and production delays and inconsistency in product performance from one lot to another.

Focusing on two critical departments, it became very clear why we were in this troubling situation.   Managers were asked three simple questions,

  1. What does the person coming into  job B need to know and/or learn to be successful in the job?

  2. What progression should these things be taught for an orderly process?

  3. What is the typical time line for delivering, evaluating progress, and completing various phases of this training?

Managers could not provide a thoughtful answer to these basic questions nor any outline that indicated they followed an orderly plan for training new employees beyond confirming basic skills on that check-off form.  Training was a “seat of the pants” process.

How would your mangers answer those 3 questions relative to the jobs in their departments?

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AN APPROACH TO CREATING AN EFFECTIVE TRAINING PROGRAM

THE MILESTONE APPROACH

An orderly plan for training was developed with each manager using a milestones approach.

It goes something like this:

  • Define what an employee in a specific job needs to know and learn in order to be successful in that job.

  • Taking into account the skills, experience, and knowledge the new employee brings to the job, what do they need to learn and know?

Now let’s break it down.  In what sequence should learning of material occur?   What should a new employee know and be capable of doing at various intervals, e.g. 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months.

  • If a work process is lengthy, and you will start the training in mid process, do explain that.   Also, provide a flow chart, a diagram, or a description of the complete process and where the training will begin.  Important also, are details about the output produced by the already completed phases of a process.

  • Evaluate the employees progress at regular interval before moving to next steps.

  • To enhance a new employee’s productivity as they go through training and upon completion, encourage managers to create SOPs or reference material, and provide mentors and go-to people.

KEY POINTS

 Create a training plan for the employee based on their knowledge vs. job requirements and review expectations with them so that they understand their goals.

 

  Define where the training in a process will begin and what has happened earlier in the process.

 

  Review progress with the employee regularly and as the milestone completion dates approach before moving to next steps.

 

 Set the next group of milestones.

 

  To enhance the new employee’s productivity during and following training,  put support systems into place.

 

 

MAKE TRAINING MORE EFFECTIVE

Research on how we learn (using technologies such a MRI) is providing us with information on the learning process, our limits and how to improve learning and retention.

 

  • We have maybe 20 minutes of intense learning time before the brain says “enough,” so alternate learning with practice, discussion, etc.   

  • Working memory (what we use during the day) has a small capacity and retains information temporarily.

  • To retain what we have learned, the information must move to another area of the brain where long term memory is located – the Basal Ganglia.


How does that happen?

                                       S L E E P  

 

 

 

 

 

SOME THOUGHTS ON IMPROVING LEARNING AND RETENTION IN GROUP AND INDIVIDUAL LEARNING

  • Break training into more manageable sessions of maybe 1 hour each and introduce variety into the process.

  • Use active learning techniques

Create or describe problem scenarios and ask trainees to come up with ideas and strategies to resolve them.  Make training Inter-active.

Include opportunities for discussion of the material being taught.

 

 

Have trainees – train one another or simply describe to one another what they have just learned.

 

 

Include practice time as part of training sessions

Give trainees assignments to complete after your training session.

 

  • Keep stress and fear levels low during training (and at other times) because these emotions cause unclear thinking as they reduce the  levels of dopamine and other neurotransmitters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remind your trainees about the retention/ sleep connection.

Suggest to your trainees that before going to sleep, they review newly learned material or create a plan for how they will use the new information the next day.

Creating Onboarding, Orientation and training programs is essential.  Getting feedback on the effectiveness of these programs is also essential.

Next post:   Getting feedback from new employees.