Successful training has got to be the focus of every leader who hopes to attain long-term results in their teams’ performance. Often, leaders realize and even extol the benefits of training. Several even back their beliefs with budget allocation for learning and development.
The trend doesn’t just showcase corporate India buying into the importance of training. The government too showed that the finance ministry led by Nirmala Sitharaman in early 2020 understood the significance of professional development. The office allocated Rs.3000 crore for skill development, job readiness, and vocational training. This was in addition to the Rs. 99,300 crores dedicated to the education sector as a whole.
But the focus of a truly hands-on leader is trained on the result-orientedness and effectiveness of successful training endeavors. Determining what can be called successful training and which aspects of employee development programs need improvement merits close scrutiny because employee development programs are a major cost overhead.
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What does successful training result in?
Successful training is that which not only adds to the knowledge bank of the learner but also adds to their confidence levels, showing them avenues to aim higher on the career path. From the perspective of an organizational head – such as a CHRO, Chief of L&D, or founder-owner – successful training models increase the employee’s engagement with their job and their role in the organizational goals.
Their day-to-day intercourse with their peers and superiors improves. It offers a shared sense of purpose. The right training, when executed successfully, makes the workers ally themselves more closely with their team and managers, and with the organization in the long term.
What makes training worth its time?
The first criterion for judging whether a training program is worth taking for professionals is the learning objectives fulfilled therein and the overall learning outcomes.
As such, the trends now point to learning objectives that offer plenty of hands-on ability and refining of skills.
Learning objectives mark out the knowledge or know-how that the learners will walk away with after the training program has concluded. Learning outcomes, on the other hand, deal with the bigger picture of professional development based on which a training program is chosen or designed.
What makes a training successful? When a training program is at the genesis stage, the following aspects prime it for future success:
- Learning objectives should be measurable: Being able to quantify the improvement in skill-level is crucial. Learners would sign up only if they are convinced of the specific skills they get to improve or add to their repertoire.
- Learning outcomes should be mapped to industry needs: Professional development should not be sought simply because it’s in vogue. Deserving professionals in every team should be offered continuous development opportunities in the line of their interests or their goals in the professional line.
- It completes the feedback loop: Training success is measured by the binary metric of whether the trainer and the trained are on the same page at all times. When there is clear communication about the goals met and the results expected between the two parties, successful training fulfills the expectations.
- Established communication lines: The subject matter is best grasped when there is an agreed-upon channel of corrective feedback and confirmation. Confirmative feedback shows the learners what they got right and what remains to be absorbed correctly. It is a purpose-led mode of learning which is only possible through honest communication and feedback.
- Measurable results: Most training programs call themselves successful or not based on a continuous testing model. There might sometimes be a final exam conducted at the end to show evidence of learning in other cases. However, the proof of true learning is in the skills absorbed and demonstrated by the learners after the training. It can be computed in quantitative terms and the results of skills gained are there for everyone to see.
What makes a training effort successful?
The answer to this question is two-fold: fruitful feedback and demonstrable change in skill-level. But it is a wholly different enterprise to learn and oversee the most crucial of all learning & development functions — how to build effective trainings
For a successful training program to be produced, tested, refined, and executed every time, several departments have to collaborate effectively:
- Successful training is led by confident trainers: These trainers have the subject matter in complete grasp. They deliver it in unambiguous terms. They also manage to motivate the learners to ask the right questions and plug their actual skill-gaps or achieve greater levels of knowledge and skill.
- The trainer talks less, elicits more: A successful training is where people are eager to participate and remain active throughout. A lecture offered by a trainer while the learners remain passive is simply outdated and is even frowned upon in the corporate setting.
- L&D keeps an eye out for feedback: It’s not just the feedback between the trainer and the learner that needs to be complete. The heads of HR and L&D take feedback from the learners’ managers, other trainers, co-workers, and even other managers to keep track of the significant changes and the not-so-desirable outcomes of a training model. Then, the feedback is used to refine the delivery and execution of the training session.
- Expectations are laid out: Successful training programs say a lot even before the training begins. Starting with the knowledge presumed, down to what a learner is required to carry (or not carry), the L&D department has everything to gain by disclosing the structure, expectations from the candidates, order of sessions, and the purview of the program. In turn, they can expect discipline, enthusiastic participation, and high motivation levels in the learners. Assignments, learners’ resources and materials that shall be handed out during, before, or after the training help round out a course, however expansive or straight-forward it is.
Successful training helps employees realize their potential and also maps out a clear way to help them reach it. It takes them, not just from the known to the unknown, but offers further suggestions for growth, lateral development, or more possibilities within and outside the purview of the organization. It helps them build a vision.
- Telling Ain’t Training – Training the Right Way | Sam-Barrow.com | April 2017
- What Makes Training Successful? (hint: feedback) | 100pceffective.com | Philippa McIntosh | Aug 2018
- WHAT MAKES A TRAINING PROGRAM EFFECTIVE? | ISixSigma |Ben Ziman | September 2010
- 5 Steps to Creating Effective Training Programs | Explorance | March 2020