When was the last time you thought something like: "Wow! That supervisor training event really made a difference to my team's performance!" or "There is a real change in James' behaviour after attending that 2 day leadership seminar a few weeks ago!" ?
Let's face it, many leaders have to think hard to come up with a good example. The truth is, much of the training we see happening in our organisations these days just doesn't leave much of a mark, beyond keeping the auditors off our backs.
Despite this, there are many posts on social media stressing the importance of employee training. Growing training budgets (at least in the UK) suggest most corporate managers probably agree. More spending and employee time allocated to training sounds like good news. But is any training necessarily also good training? And...
...are we really getting ROI from our training investments?
If not, these 4 simple questions can help leaders in pinpointing where it's going wrong and how to fix it:
1. Are my people enjoying the training?
2. Is there evidence of growing knowledge, skills & attitude?
3. How are my guys applying what they’ve learned?
4. Does this result in improving operations performance, a happier team, more satisfied customers?
These are the kind of questions, learning guru Kirkpatrick suggests, we must ask to hold ourselves accountable and streamline our training investment. The four levels are progressive: we cannot get performance improvement (level 4) without putting levels 1 - 3 in place first. And isn’t level 4 what we are trying to achieve? If there is no improvement, what’s the point in training?
Many organisations struggle to graduate from 'knowing' (L2) to ' applying' (L3), and therefore have little hope of seeing improvement (L4). This happens when application is not treated as part of the training process, and therefore not actively supported and managed. If you come to think about it, ...
...good training integrates exposure to new ideas with their practical application.
Application cannot be an accident, application must be designed in. This dramatically boosts learning retention, builds skills and, over time, grows new habits that deliver business results and more engaged, happier employees. Sitting learners in front of a screen alone (even with multiple-choice knowledge assessments) is not enough to change behaviour, and we know that...
...without changing behaviour, there won't be hard results.
That's why learners must be supported and coached - hands-on, at their workplace - as they apply new learning and develop new skills.
Over 70 years ago, the fathers of the Training within Industry (TWI) programs knew this simple truth and put it at the heart of their supervisor training programs that later became the foundation of what we now know as the Toyota Production System. All TWI programs are taught ‘on-the-job’ and provide simple 4-Step practice routines which, through repetition, develop practical leadership & improvement skills in our teams. This means that...
...with TWI, our ROI is designed in.
All we need to do is ring-fence practice time, roll up our sleeves, and lead our teams, hands-on, on their journey.
Find out more about TWI's 6 essential leadership skills here.
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