Jennifer V Miller: Make Performance the Goal of Your Training
During my corporate career I've had the privilege of working in both the human resources and the training and development functions. On the org chart, sometimes these functions reported to the same Vice President, sometimes they didn't. Regardless of reporting structure, it was vital that the two functions work well together to provide an optimal experience for the organization's employees. Because of this career history, I've been assigned to lead projects when wearing my HR hat and also when wearing my training hat. . . and I've always needed to collaborate with my fellow HR/Trainer colleagues. When it comes to a "wish" that I have for the human resources function, it's this: if I could change one thing about HR, I would grant each HR professional the latitude to operate from a "performance" stance rather than a "training" stance.
What about the spirit of the law? Is there a way that the HR function can tap into the Training function's expertise to help ensure that the compliance training is just more than BIS? (Butts in Seats) Many training professionals have dimension to their expertise, drawing on the discipline of Human Performance Technology. These performance technologists look at factors beyond training to determine how to ensure that the topic trained actually gets put to use in the workplace.
Does this sound like too much effort and fancy consultant-speak? It's not. What I'm talking about is common sense, but said "sense" sometimes takes flight in the face of deadlines and overloaded email boxes. These techniques can be used whether an HR pro is a one-person department, or part of a multi-national HR team.
- Capitalize on Your Best Bet for Success: Direct Supervisors. The
supervisors of those affected by your training initiative provide your
best avenue for ensuring actual job performance. Studies show that when
an employee has direct contact with their supervisor before and after
training, the likelihood of training transfer increases.
Idea: Ask high-performing supervisors to give input on the best way to introduce and reinforce the training to employees.
Upshot: Leaving your supervisory staff out of the loop spells F-A-I-L for your training project.
- Review Your Company Policies for Disincentives. Many times, a
mandated training program directly competes with existing company
policies. Be sure to review your company policies to ferret out rules
that might inadvertently lead to non-compliance
Idea: Leverage your natural born employee "editors" on this one. Ask employees who are known for finding holes in the company policies to see where there are gaps in the new compliance rules and current company policy. They'll sniff out discrepancies in no time.
Upshot: You'll need to review the policies anyway, so might as well get a head start on it.
- Communicate. Frequently. Meet with company executives to determine
how to communicate the necessity for the training. Find a genuine
business purpose that the training provides. (Not always possible, with
compliance training, but it helps.) Set up a way for employees to
provide feedback about the proposed changes that the training will bring
about. More and more, the employee base expects to be able to
participate. Giving them an outlet to do so will aid in the adoption of
the practices outlined in the training session.
Idea: Set up a series of "pulse-taking" milestones during the project. Start with a pilot project of the training program, then institute two to four more feedback opportunities throughout the process.
Upshot: Don't wait to get feedback until the end of the training project; by then it'll be too late.