Comparing Weak and Strong Training Assessment Approaches

weak and strong training assessment approaches

There Are Big Differences Between Weak and Strong Training Assessment Approaches
We have found both weak and strong training assessment approaches during our 25+ years of designing and delivering training solutions.

What Most Companies Do
Most organizations use training assessments to identify the specific skills, knowledge, and attitudes that are most important to the people and the business. However, not all training assessment approaches are created equal.

How Weak L&D Functions Handle Training Assessments
In general, most learning and development functions provide a good sense of training priorities based upon what is most requested by the workforce. But ineffective L&D functions do not scientifically identify the critical few skills, knowledge, and attitudes that are most important to the leaders of the business or to the strategy as a whole.

An Example of a Weak Training Needs Assessment
For example, an assessment that asks managers to force-rank or prioritize training options (i.e. presentation skills versus business acumen skills) will tell you only what people think they want on a preconceived list of training options. This approach neglects the desired performance improvement or required business impact that will actually move the business forward.  While this approach is certainly well-intentioned, it usually misses the mark.

Forced Ranking
For example, after their employee engagement survey identified a greater need for employee and career development, a recent client asked employees which training options they liked best out of a list of:

  • Presentation skills
  • Communication skills
  • Problem solving skills
  • Decision making skills
  • Sales skills
  • Customer service skills
  • Strategic Thinking skills
  • Business acumen skills
  • Management skills

The Training Assessment Results
The top three with the highest ratings were communication, business acumen and management skills.  The company designed and rolled out the top three programs, but they had trouble filling the workshops.  Why?  Because employees ranked what they liked best, not what they were willing to invest their time doing compared to other priorities in a way that would be supported by their boss and the company as a whole.

In others words, the training assessment lacked context.

How Strong L&D Functions Handle Training Assessments
Effective learning and development functions do not waste time comparing various training options. They focus on identifying the critical few behavior-based skills, knowledge, and attitudes by person and by group that matter most to the:

  • Target audience
  • Their bosses
  • The leadership team

In other words, strong L&D functions ensure high levels of training relevance across the organization.  Relevant enough that each and every training initiative is supported by management because it helps the target audience achieve important company priorities.

Why This Training Approach is Effective
This relevant-driven training approach allows training assessments to effectively support behavior and performance change by:

  • Initiating the change process
  • Aligning leadership and employees
  • Pinpointing skill gaps against a proven standard
  • Customizing workshops
  • Predisposing participants
  • Guiding coaching and Individual Development Plans
  • Setting baseline metrics
  • Targeting investments
  • Determining the root cause
  • Obtaining buy-in

The Bottom Line
Ineffective L&D functions do not focus on the business and performance relevance from the point of view of their key business stakeholders.  High performance training functions ensure training is relevant to the participants, their bosses and the company as w hole.

To learn more about taking your training function to the next level and if weak and strong training assessment approaches are impacting your results, download the Top 10 Training Function Warning Signs that You May Be in Trouble

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I have worked with other training companies and found it to be more of a seller/buyer relationship than one of matching the right expertise to our business issues. That’s what LSA does – ask the hard questions, listen, and understand our business needs. We receive the benefit of their expertise from assistance with personal development plans to enhancing team performance, to looking at enterprise-wide challenges. It’s all about helping our business succeed as we grow. Right now, LSA is providing great ideas, a fresh approach, and valuable guidance as we develop our management team and accelerate our client relationship management results.

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LSA’s Employee Engagement Consulting and Survey work has provided critical visibility into: how well our people are holding up under the general economic environment, as well as, the specific challenges that face biotechnology companies in their efforts to discover and develop new medicines; their level of alignment and commitment to XOMA’s Vision and mission critical strategies; how leadership practices and management systems support an environment that engender commitment, and the specific actions that our leaders can take to improve on areas that are important to our people. I highly recommend LSA’s employee engagement solutions.

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LSA’s approach and ability to bring the best resources to eBay has been a great asset. They really focus on helping us succeed in any way they can and are very flexible in meeting our management and talent needs.

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Learning & Development

ebay

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What a personal and professional pleasure it has been to Partner with LSA. They are truly a strategic partner with Wyse. For more than 5 years, LSA has been engaged in delivering various training and development solutions for Wyse, from custom on-site programs targeting specific core competencies, to working individually with clients to build job skills, and offering invaluable services to me and my team as we continue to build our learning programs. LSA’s representatives do more than sell a product, they offer a full service solution: they understand our business, our strategic initiatives, and the needs of our customers.

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I’ve been associated with LSA for the last 8 years and have found them to be an extremely professional, well managed full service training organization. Since working with LSA, I’ve participated in a number of solutions ranging from Performance Management to Assertiveness Training – I’ve found that the quality of the resources is superior. They are well prepared and have definitely done a considerable amount of pre-work in order to customize our culture and business into the total learning experience – making it most beneficial for our employees.

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