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Organisations must benefit from training investment

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An organisation’s competitive success is achieved through people. What this entails then is that skills and performance of people are critical to the success of any organisation.

This is why many organisations spend thousands of dollars annually on training, believing that it will improve their employees’ performance and ultimately the organisation’s productivity. But what do we really mean by the term “transfer of learning”?

This is a process by which the desired knowledge, skills and attitudes are transferred from the training environment to pre-defined on-the-job behaviour and performance change.

Most organisations believe in “investing in people” through skills building and they are content with allowing the results to take care of themselves. The likelihood of this approach succeeding and having a tangible business impact is next to zero.

How then can organisations increase the likelihood of having training undertaken actually transfer to the workplace? The following tips could assist you as a training and development practitioner in ensuring that transfer of training takes place.

Before you send an employee for training, there is need to do a thorough needs and skills analysis to determine the real need for training and development.

The employee might be failing to perform as expected, but the question that comes up is whether he/she is adequately equipped to undertake the task at hand.

Many a time it has been observed that failure to perform as expected is not always as a result of lack of skill but could be due to other factors such as inadequacy of working tools or the employee does not have a clear understanding of what is expected from their job.

Normally in such cases the solution to the problem is not training but rectification of the problem areas.

There is need to enlighten the employee about why the new skills, skills enhancement or information is necessary.

What this means is the employee should be made to understand the link between the training and his/her job.

The impact of the training can further be enhanced through enlightening the employee about the link between the training he/she is undertaking and his/her ability to make a contribution towards the accomplishment of the organisation’s strategic plan and goals.

Most organisations fail in this regard since they view strategic planning as a preserve of those in management.

In most cases the lower level employees are not made aware of organisation’s strategic plan and goals which makes it difficult for them to identify where they fit.

This will eventually result in employees treating training as an exercise that is just routine with no link to the overall strategic objectives of the organisation.

It is also important to provide training and development that is really relevant to the skill to be attained by the employee or any information which the employee requires to expand his/her work horizon.

This is usually possible through coming up with job-related training modules that are unique to the organisation rather than general training.

This will call for designing employee training internally if outside consultancy cannot offer training that is relevant to the identified needs.

It is ineffective to send an employee to attend a course on general supervisory management when his/her immediate need is delegating to subordinates.

The training will not help the employee much since it is not focused on the real problem.

Employees need to be informed beforehand about exactly what the training session will involve before they attend the training.

It is the responsibility of the immediate supervisor, in consultation with the training specialist, to sit down with concerned employee and outline what the course will cover as well as their expectations from the employee after attending the course.

This will help in reducing the employee’s normal anxiety about the course as he/she will be aware of what to expect resulting in them focusing on the learning and training transfer rather than their potential discomfort with the unknown.

Paul Nyausaru is a training and development practitioner.

You can contact him on email pnyausaru@yahoo.co.uk. Views contained in this article are personal .

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