There are many variables as to why a particular training course or workshop didn’t work as hoped, more than we can go into here. It can come down to an ineffective or distracted trainer; being the wrong course for the audience – or even if it’s the right course, delivery could be at the wrong time.
At Emerge, we see a range of reasons, but the most common problems that see training courses, etc. fail is down to three missing elements: want, need and support.
None of the three commonly-missing elements are complicated mysteries. Want is establishing the motivation of the audience or delegates – what do they want to achieve? What will be their outcome? Why this course? What are they working towards; what will they gain?
They may simply want to get better at something, improve an existing skill or knowledge base. What benefits will they see from undergoing the training?
This is similar to want, but at the same time, it can be poles apart. For instance, delegates may want to learn a new language, but if where they choose to holiday the locals speak impeccable English, what’s the point? Without establishing enough need, the want can fizzle out quite quickly – practice could be deemed as not crucial and therefore become easily replaced by something more exciting, because the need isn’t strong enough.
What’s pushing them to learn? What’s the burning desire behind their decision? Perhaps they’re not working ‘towards’ a goal, but away from a consequence – what will happen to them if they don’t undertake this training? Will they become a dinosaur in their team? Can they do their job to the level required if they don’t keep abreast of new developments, for example? The need is their driver that will see them absorb and apply the training effectively.
PDRs (Personal Development Reviews) are a good example – if people don’t see the point in doing them (no want) and know nothing will happen if they don’t (no need) the training will have no impact and the investment ends up being a waste of time; few organisations carry out post-training checks, measures or sanctions (see last week’s post about the measuring of training to ensure effectiveness).
When we run a PDR course on behalf of our clients, we spend a large chunk of the time helping delegates identify their wants and needs.
Do delegates have enough materials, a sounding board, the freedom or practical support from their managers, etc. to implement what they learn on a training course? Because, otherwise, nothing will happen. Support should ideally be in place as the course ends, before the new skills or knowledge that the delegate has learned are forgotten.
This “practicing of new skills” may be a challenge on top of the employee’s daily duties, especially if he’s/she’s been away training for a few days; however, the benefits that come from supporting employees after their training are huge. They also don’t just lie with the individual, but with the team around them and the organisation as a whole.
With the time, cost and effort that goes into putting on a training course of any kind, you may assume such basics – of identifying the wants, needs, and required support of each delegate – would be a given, but you’d be surprised how few organisations have a fit for purpose training strategy. Often, courses are seen as just things to be done, a box-ticking exercise, with attendance being the main thing rather than outcomes. With real thought, research, and a plan to address the delegates’ wants, needs and support, any training will ultimately prove much more effective.
Emerge helps organisations ensure their training doesn’t fall at the first hurdle. Contact 01329 820580 or email email@example.com for more details.
Thanks to photostock at freedigitalphotos.net for use of the image.