Are your company training programs running as costs or investments?

There are companies which perceive that training is a waste of money, time and effort. I understand that view. At a first glance, training could be a cost because, the company expends on man hours, materials, and processes to prepare and to administer.

You see the benefits of training are mostly hidden, not at the onset but once discovered, is highly impacting; but when not executed properly, could produce debilitating costs sometimes losing business.

Whether training is a cost or at an advantage, depends on how this was planned, administered and assessed.

1. Identify Training goals: Direct and Indirect goals.
The primary goal of training is to support the business goals of the organization. Thus for every corresponding training, there should be a corresponding performance output.

The secondary goal of training are the implicit culture that occurs during the training. Training is administered not only that employees would have the technical knowledge to run the operations and technicalities of the business but training is another avenue for the company to influence employees of its culture. Whether it is a classroom setting or not the mechanics and the internal workings within the group during training must be managed. It is of particular importance that in creating the training program, instructional designers and/or trainers must understand and include the mediating objectives during of particular training module and program.

2. Identify performance output.
For every training, trainers must identify expected output. Performance output is not only used to create direction for the learners, but this technique is a rule of thumb in adult learning. Identifying performance output is an application of the adult learning principles of, “Adult learners are relevancy-oriented,” and “Adult learners are goal-directed”.
If adult learners don’t find the importance of the training to their job and what is expected of them, don’t expect much retention to the learners.

To achieve this, the organization will have to associate the competencies and measure results. By this method, the costs of training will not remain hidden and benefits of training are measured, eventually preventing any too-late debilitating costs.

3. Identify performance levelling.
The adult principles applicable here are related to #2. I am separating this clause because it has its practical reason when learners go back to their normal operations.
Remember that from the performance output that was created, attendees of the training have varying mastery levels. Out of the varying outputs, identify who needs further training, who are ready to be deployed or who have enough mastery to teach others. Eventually over time, technical masters could become coaches and act as a guide to newbies of the organization (implication here is the importance on retention of tenured employees).

4. Reward good performers.
After training, it still boils down to, who performs the best? The follow-up question is, what are the motivational factors of high performers? Though high performers have their internal motivation, the goal of the organization is to reinforce their internal motivation by creating an external motivation. It is important to take note that when companies have also a reward system for high performers, low performers could become high performers.

5. Creating the learning organization.
The beauty of learning organization is that the people in the company share ideas, bring out innovation and develop best practices that give the opportunity to develop the technology, forge relationships and of course, increasing returns on the company.

When company has their reward system, high performers’ internal motivation, sometimes self-serving, are protected, thus preventing silo mentality. Consequently, high performers could unwittingly share their knowledge for they are not only recognized but their efforts are rewarded.

Examining training does not only stop at administration. It does not only measure the reaction level of the participants on the training.

Organizational training programs should look into the level of retention and application of the training administered and the returns of training to the business and to the organization as an organic system. Using this method, company training programs are an ally and make training at a business advantage.

Author's Bio: 

Jean Capangpangan, is an M.A. Cand., Social Psychology, based in Cebu, Philippines, with over 10 years experience specializing in group dynamics through behavioural training in niche groups: youth and adults in the sales, technical, agriculture, manufacturing and service industry.

Currently working on a research on contributory factors in becoming a child in conflict with the law (CICL) or children with anti-social tendencies and find interventions for these children to become functional individuals to the society.

Jean uses techniques in social influence, leadership, group dynamics and cognitive dissonance for behaviour modification.