LSA Global released 10 training best practices that help impact your bottom line.
All training and development programs should cascade down from the organization’s overall strategic goals. No programs are developed or implemented unless they produce results that are identified as critical to the business. There should be explicit alignment between learning objectives and business objectives. The goal is relevance.
2. Positive cost/benefit ratio
Training today is subject to the same measurements as every other business activity. It must show a return on investment, either in the long term or the short term. Though best companies realize that many training and development initiatives take years to fully achieve their goals, these time-frames are identified up front and the programs are re-evaluated on a regular basis in light of changing business drivers.
3. Supported by key strategies, systems, structures, policies, and practices
Organizations that receive a true return on their learning investments ensure that learning is aligned with and directly supported by key areas such as organizational structures, lines of authority, decision making, values, planning, budgeting, career development, information sharing, compensation, performance management, rewards and recognition, staffing, recruiting, and succession planning. These direct links help to both set boundaries and reinforce desired results. Without support, the best intentions can be wasted.
4. Driven through many channels
Leading organizations investigate and utilize multiple modalities to ensure that people get the right skills at the right time, in the right way, and at the right cost. Modalities such as classroom lecture and role plays, on-the-job application, blended learning, e-Learning, use of technology support tools, and coaching by co-workers are selected to match specific learning styles, business issues, budgets, and cultures. Don’t overlook the value of different approaches.
5. Maximize employee ability and potential through shared accountability
Best companies tap into the ability and potential of their employees through providing self-directed training and development. Employees are encouraged to identify their own needs, create individual learning plans, and seek learning opportunities. Depending upon the kind of culture an organization is trying to create, the responsibility for learning can fall on the individual, his/her boss, his/her peers, or the organization. This training best practice presupposes relevance.
#6. Work-related training
Knowledge and skills that are acquired through training and development programs must be relevant and useful, both to the organization and to the individual’s work requirements. Employees only participate in programs that will add to their current or future work effectiveness while contributing to organizational success. Training should save people time, not add to their workload.
7. Learning by doing
Best companies are training their employees by having them perform “real” tasks and projects in both a training environment and on-the-job. Learning is built around action rather than theory. Instead of a theoretical discussion about strategic planning or project management, for instance, participants develop a usable strategic plan or create deliverables for their project. Employees learn in their own way and at their own pace through assignments that get real work done.
8. Transferability of knowledge and skills back to the job
One of the most important elements of successful training and development is that it be easily transferred back to the workplace. The timing of the training, the relevance of the content, and the quality and appropriateness of the delivery method are all critical to transfer of training. Another crucial element is the maintenance of the new skill or knowledge once training has been completed. If not used regularly, skills and knowledge quickly atrophy. For this training best practice to succeed, use performance tests to prove and sustain knowledge and skill gain.
9. Linked to other people-related programs and departments
Best companies do not train their employees in a vacuum. In many instances, training is conducted by the same managers, who also perform evaluations, set performance objectives, and draft compensation and promotion systems for their employees. Even where the training is designed and delivered by a specific function or department, the programs respond not only to organizational needs, but also to individual needs as identified through appraisals, counseling meetings, assessments, and career development plans.
10. Continuous learning process
To drive lasting change in behaviors and habits, best companies ensure that learning occurs before, during, and after scheduled learning events. These companies encourage a work habit of reflection and learning. The process of doing, reflecting, learning, and doing again never ceases.