Clarifying Training Events versus Learning Solutions

Clarifying Training Events versus Learning Solutions
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Training Does Not Always Makes Sense
“Does training make sense” is an important question to ask.  And often, the answer is surprisingly “no.”  Let’s use sexual harassment training as an example to highlight the difference between training events versus learning solutions to help identify when training makes sense.

Sexual Harassment Training
Most sexual harassment training occurs because the Supreme Court determined that for a company to avoid liability it had to show that it had adequately trained employees on its anti-harassment policies.  While most sexual harassment training can certainly help protect companies from lawsuits and impart basic information, the majority fails to solve the fundamental issue of preventing sexual harassment from happening in the first place.

When Training Does Make Sense
So stand-alone sexual harassment training does makes sense if you need to comply and mitigate risk and are not too worried about currently having an unfair or disrespectful workplace.  This is certainly true of many well run and highly functioning workplaces.

When Training, by Itself, Probably Does Not Make Sense
If, however, you want to solve the root problems facing companies like Uber and Fox News, sexual harassment training, by itself, does not make much sense.  While training can be a vital component, it is not enough.

To systemically prevent harassment, organizations need to shape a workplace culture in which everyone is treated fairly and with respect.  The same can be said about sales, leadership, and management training.  Well-designed and highly customized training can be a vital component to improve performance and behavior, but, by itself, it is not enough to move the needle.

Training Events versus Learning Solutions
We say “Training Does Not Always Makes Sense” because there is big difference between Training Events versus Learning Solutions.

Training Events
Training events typically strive to improve the awareness and insight of specific skills and knowledge to satisfy the fundamental compliance, health, and hygiene learning needs required to attract, develop, engage and retain talent.

Success is typically measured by participant satisfaction surveys.  Unfortunately, our research shows that without other reinforcement and support mechanisms, only 20 percent of participants change their on-the-job behavior and performance from stand-alone training – regardless of the quality and relevance.

Not great odds.

Learning Solutions
Learning solutions aim to measurably change behavior and improve performance. Success is typically measured by the adoption of new skills and behaviors and the corresponding lift in performance.

Learning solutions are most often deployed as part of a broader change initiative for a team or group to solve a specific and important business problem.  Done right, learning solutions should make a measurable performance impact.

You will know you have more of a learning solution when the stakes are high enough to warrant:

  • Coaching
    By far, coaching has the highest correlation to the transfer of training and performance improvement.  Our research found that consistent and frequent coaching makes a 4-to-1 performance difference.

    Do the leaders of your participants know how to effectively coach up their people?  Do they make the time to coach?  Are they expected to coach?

  • Scenario-Based Training
    We have found that every client and every role has a unique set of scenarios that matter most to their job performance and employee engagement.  While basic training can set the foundation, ensuring that your participants can excel at the top 5-10 scenarios that matter most sets everyone up for success.

    Have you identified the scenarios that matter most?  Can you target audience consistently excel at each scenario when the stakes are high?  Have you considered learning simulations to assess capabilities?

  • Learning Reinforcement
    Along with coaching and scenario-based training, online job aids and practice helps to reinforce and hone skills. Are you using microlearning video vignettes, tools, and job aids to support your learners?

The Bottom Line
If your training does not help to attract, develop, engage, retain, protect or improve employees in a way that links to an important people or business priority, it should be questioned.  Do not undertake an investment in learning until you are clear about the desired learning and business objectives and the value of accomplishing them.  Only then will you know if you need to deploy a cost effective and efficient Training Event or a more robust Learning Solution.

To learn more about Training Events versus Learning Solutions, download 3 Steps to Building a Smarter Training Initiative – One that Gets Business Results

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