Magazine article New Zealand Management

About Enterprise Learning

Magazine article New Zealand Management

About Enterprise Learning

Article excerpt

"What you need is a course," or "I need a couple of days away from the office, what sort of course is available?"

It might not be like that in your organisation, but for many executives I work with, something along these lines describes their approach to executive education or personal development.

We see it everywhere, from those attending first-time management courses to more senior executives headed for overseas 'seats of learning'. It's almost as if the learning, or course attendance, is a silo operation. And yes, the experience is intended to enhance the skill level of the employee, but the question is: how is that enhanced skill used to benefit the employer?

Not so long ago I worked with a CEO to identify, and if possible quantify, the value of course attendances to the organisation. After a couple of hours of examining various alternatives we decided that the employer would offer his managers up to six days training a year. Each manager could select any course they wanted so long as they were not away from the job for more than the six days. The proviso was that before attending the courses, the applicants had to identify how they expected the learning would improve their job performance.

And when it came to the individual's annual performance assessment, the attendees had to show how they had applied the course material to their job and in what ways it had enhanced their performance. The employer wasn't concerned about the cost of the courses selected, but he did want to be absolutely clear about how the course added value to the organisation.

In a similar but slightly different approach, a colleague who is more involved in training than I, invites course attendees' sponsoring managers to afternoon tea prior to the beginning of the course to identify with them what they expect their attendees to take from the course, and how they will apply the experience in their work environment.

Both these approaches certainly add value to the employer and provide a valuable reality check on the reason for attending the course. They both also provide a check on the course content. Is the course relevant to the issues the candidates face in today's workplace?

But there is a shortcoming with each of these approaches.

The real value of training ... learning .. …

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