Magazine article Workforce

Training: Learning That Counts

Magazine article Workforce

Training: Learning That Counts

Article excerpt

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While there's no single best-practices model that exists for how to transform corporate training, training strategists agree on one overriding principle: Training must be run like a business.

Here are a few guidelines:

Link training objectives to business strategy

Several years ago, Dan Tobin was asked to help trainers at an international technology company develop an employee development guide for managers.

"They wanted my input on how to structure an efficient employee development process," he explains. "I asked them for a copy of the annual report, a listing of the three top objectives of each of the business units, and for copies of customer brochures. The training managers told me they didn't have access to `that kind of stuff."'

Recalling the situation, Tobin laughs incredulously. "There's no way you can create effective training programs unless you understand the corporate strategy," he says.

Address the corporate culture

To create lasting organizational change, trainers can't ignore the influence of corporate culture.

According to William F. Brendler, president and founder of ebusiness-erm.com and Brendler Associates Inc. in Houston, Texas, one of the mistakes companies commonly make in trying to create learning organizations is to think that a few training programs and proclamations about empowerment, self-direction, and risk-taking are all that are necessary.

"All the training programs in the world will be ineffective unless you first address cultural barriers to learning, such as fear, blame, reluctance to take responsibility, self-justification, and so on," he says.

Focus on outcomes

Prior to developing any learning initiative, trainers must focus on business results. Training expert John W Humphrey calls this "results contracting." "Let's be clear about what we're trying to accomplish and what outcomes we want," he says. …

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