Training is defined as teaching a person a particular type of skill or behavior. Organizations take a lot of care in skilling their employees by developing an employee training process. An organization’s training and development needs are closely tied to an organization’s goals. What do we mean by organization goal? For the sake of this article we will be referring to this example – where a corporate has an organizational goal as: “increase customer satisfaction by 5% by August 2019.”
Training and Organizational Goals
Organizational goals are strategic business objectives which are made with the inputs of all heads responsible for the business and its operations. With regards to the above example, at the end of August 2019, the business will calculate if they were able to achieve this target. However, in the interim, where are the ripple effects shoring?
You are right- one department which would be impacted by this goal is the Training and Development team (T&D). T&D will work closely with other business units, especially the customer support, and sales support staff to build a training and development process. Now imagine, the organization’s goal is communicated to the T&D team – what are the next steps?
The T&D managers will immediately get to the task, identifying the current customer satisfaction rates, areas of improvement, weaknesses, and strengths. They will also get in touch with the team managers to find out what skills will the team-members benefit from? They will also listen to customer calls and find out for themselves how the customer support team is faring and how it can do better. All these processes put together are called Training Needs Analysis. The given deadline is August 2019, and the T&D team has a few months to conduct corporate training programs. What are some key points that the department keeps in mind so that the end outcome (organizational goal) is achieved? There are three main factors among others which will have an impact on the final result. These are:
Once the corporate goals are set the training department must fix a schedule – from training needs analysis, training, to post-training evaluations and methods – these must be decided at the planning stage or during training development process itself. Also things such as
- Duration of the corporate training program
- When should it be held? (morning, afternoon and/or evening)
- How much time to be spent on reinforcement of learning or evaluation?
Understanding how much time will be spent on evaluations is necessary, because of two reasons. Firstly, certain methods to evaluate reinforcement and training are time-consuming. Secondly, if the evaluations turn out to be unsatisfactory, then the staff would need to be re-trained. In both conditions, the time that will be taken must be factored in.
All these measures contribute to a well-timed training which when followed methodically helps to establish a learning culture in the organization. In the example we have taken, the training development team must communicate (with those being trained) about the weaknesses that they want to address.
In today’s day and age, departments take into cognizance that employee time is valuable and hence the practice of targeted training or personalized training has been brought into the training ambits.
In targeted training, only specific training as required by the employee is created and conducted for that employee. In our current example, a customer support executive is unable to resolve queries at the first go, which is affecting his customer satisfaction scores. All of his other colleagues do not face this problem. So, the trainer will create customized training modules and administer the same to the executive.
Nowadays, employees seek training whenever they want – which facilitates ‘just-in-time-learning.’ Mobile learning or mLearning facilitates ‘just-in-time-training’ which means the employees can access training modules according to their needs and timings. This method is also helpful if the training is applied on-the-job immediately. Employees on the move can benefit immensely from mLearning as they can access learning modules on the move.
The traditional way of training in a physical setting may still be relevant- but mixed and matched with technology (such as virtual reality, simulation). Game-based training or gamification are two additional ways in which technology can be applied to facilitate learning and training. In the example that we have taken, Virtual reality or training calls can be created to help support staff learn how to answer complicated phone-ins and ensure that customer satisfaction is achieved after every call. Alternatively, the company may ask each customer to rate their satisfaction with the support staff, and this may help the training team to monitor progress after training.
Move beyond Planning: Impacting
These three factors if incorporated well will help to create training that is impactful and meaningful. These, in turn, will help to fulfill the training goals. However, for training to work, the organization should be a learning organization. It means that the organization should make it possible for its employees to learn and continuously change itself. An organization that promotes training stands to gain tremendous benefits- such as employee retention, employee satisfaction and low attrition rates, and then projects itself as an attractive employer of talent.