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Strategies to Make Training More Successful

By Susan Hall

In this video blog, we discuss, as a group, strategies to make training initiatives more successful. A single event is not training. Success takes leadership sponsorship and communication to engage participants to gain the maximum return on investment.

Ron Schild: 00:00  I know we've had this conversation many times about why training doesn't work and I thought it would be kind of fun to talk about it again from all of our perspectives. I think most people get focused on why it doesn't work having to do with the event itself. The people in the chairs, the books, and that actual event, but we all know it's more than that.

Susan Hall: 00:26  In fact, it always amazes me how much focus is put on the event when training is just a means to an end. It's a process, not an event. And in fact, 25 percent of the impact of training actually occurs before people even step into the classroom.

Tim Deuitch: 00:45  Post-training, the research says it's 50 percent of the value is post training and when you think about it, it makes sense. I mean, who really imagines that a few hours or even a few days is going to change behavior so that results are different. It's interesting how you tie back the value of training based on the amount of practice and focus you make on the skills after training.

Andrea McOwen: 01:17  I think another reason the training doesn't work sometimes or the client doesn't think that it works is that they maybe didn't really clearly define what training really is, or not what training is, or what their objectives are and what they're trying to accomplish with this training and then looking back on that and saying, "When and if we measure this, how will we know that it was successful? How will we know that it worked?" So I think that's one thing clients don't really think about.

Susan Hall: 01:45  Exactly. I think the number one critical success factor for any initiative like this is senior sponsorship. Is the training aligned with driving an actual business objective? Is it clearly tied together? Can senior management get behind that? Are they visibly behind that so that the organization knows there's support and there's some accountability building.

Ron Schild: 02:13  I get asked, "Do you want me in the room? I'm the manager." I want you in the room as the leader and the sponsor and the person that's setting the expectations of why we're doing it. That's the most critical thing you can do for me.

Andrea McOwen: 02:21  I think another thing that's critical is communication. Not only letting this sponsor have the company know why they're doing this, but as the individuals sitting in the room. Why am I doing this? And how does this fit? What do you expect me to be doing differently? And how does that fit with what the organization is trying to do, so I know what my role is in the big picture.

Tim Deuitch: 02:44  Right, in another dimension of that, is when the participants look back at their leaders and say, "What are your expectations of me?" It's always a different chemistry when they're told that, "Yeah we're going to evaluate how you use these skills, the degree to which you use these skills, and the degree to which we've made it easy for you to use these skills." Boy, does that make for a more energetic class.

Susan Hall: 03:05  And then what happens afterwards, of course, is probably most critical. Do they have the right tools in place? Are managers using the language? Again, I think that's a very simple, but powerful thing that every organization can do is just make sure that the managers are asking the right questions.

Ron Schild: 03:22  So I think we talked a lot about what makes successful training and it's about the process we use. Starting from the very beginning in identifying the needs, having the event well planned, getting senior management's commitment, and of course, the event itself in the classroom. It's encouraging that participation, in making sure that everyone leaves that training exercise with something they can use in their job and can do immediately.

Best of luck and let me know how I can help you achieve more effective training!

Published: October 29, 2015


Susan Hall

Vice President- Business Development & Performance Improvement

Susan brings over 20 years of experience working with global markets and organizations, helping them navigate through tough economic challenges while maintaining their margins. Since joining SEG in 1995, she has had the privilege of working with organizations that truly value the development of their employees and recognize the impact their people have on their bottom line results. Susan graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a double major in business management and speech communication. She has also completed course work toward her master's degree at Johns Hopkins University.

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