July 10, 2008

Ways to Measure and Increase Training Productivity

All training programmes don’t deliver results that were expected. Company leaders need to strategize how to assess and increase results.

We take for granted that in the corporate world, training schedules rule. This is even more true in an evolving world with the unprecedented opportunities. It is therefore important to ensure that these training sessions are indeed productive.

Now, how do we assess this quantifying and increase evolving processes? There is a simple process behind this.

In terms of ascertaining the reach of training programmes, an accurate indicator is: data – the productivity of employees before and after the training programmes. When data shows significant improvement in their productivity, it can be said that their training programmes delivered. In case there is not a noticeable, or if you find yourself needing to use a lot of adjectives rather than cold data then it didn’t work as expected.
What is it that we can do?.

To begin with is the content of your training. We often see training as simply stating of the obvious. Even though this is good enough for entertainment purposes, it is important to have an eye on what it is that we are conveying that the group doesn’t know and could benefit from knowing. It works well to have a meeting to identify the intention, content and boundaries of the training programmes.
Contrary to how it seems, boundarylessness is not an advantage when it comes to training. Talking about infinite subjects doesn’t lead to infinite learning, but detracts from the intensity of the core subject by talking about too many things and not having time to invest in them.

The next thing to do follows from this. Plan your flow. This could be called your programme schedule, your training design, or simply be a small chit of paper you carry around and refer to for options to follow at any point in the training. Something that gives you an idea of where you would be planning to arrive at the end of the session or day or programme. Without that, the training is like driftwood. It could look nice on the beach, but it could just as easily be floating unnoticed in the sea.

It is important for the facilitator to realize that he is a tool to change, not a participant in the change. It is a role boundary that needs to be respected, if the training is to have results that extend beyond its duration. Too often, we see trainers participating in the change. Classic symptoms of this include the facilitator having suggestions on how things “should” be done, explaining failures to reach targets rather than staying with the data and leading the group. Recognizing and accepting failure is perhaps the single biggest step to deep change.

A facilitator’s participation will also typically show more impressive “results” during the training programmes (and ensure that the facilitator seems to make a great impression about his effectiveness) than if participants initiated the change, because the facilitator has greater experience of resolving problems due to the nature of his profession. However, these results will not last in the absence of the trainer, because they are results of his leading the group, rather than enabling change in the group itself. Trainees will typically have a tentative and slowly evolving process. This doesn’t seem like much, but because it belongs with the group, it goes back into their routines with them.

The final and important thing is to set identifiers for results. This means seeing the statistics to you and identifying the area that the training aims to impact. For example: number of consumer complaints per week, attendance records, quantity of handmade paper produced per month, etc. The key to this is in its being a clear quantity. It is also important that you have the data available before the training. For example, it is no use using attendance records as a parameter for training on punctuality, if I have no data on the group’s attendance before the training to compare it with.
With this, we can hope to have an accurate assessment of the value of the training programmes we are doing.***

Source: Ezinearticles by Vidyut Kale

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