Billions of dollars are spent annually on Training and development within organizations, without commensurate Return On Investment. (Tens of billions of dollars are spent on it annually, but companies often squander these investments because the training is not geared to drive business results, say experts at The Boston Consulting Group (BCG)).
Organizations invest in soft skills training and development to manage talent, to enhance leadership, communication and other soft skills amongst their employees. Transitions occurs in taking on new roles, new challenges, managing a new team, new responsibilities, new countries or even with a different team or boss. This often results in many employees feeling challenged with their leadership, communication and influential skills. Coaching and training can help in enhancement or a shift in these soft skills.
There is a clear need for training and coaching within organizations.
Yet, what are some of the reasons for the gap between the need for training and development and the resultant ROI?
1.Training is often not geared to drive results, based on which those who receive training are being evaluated.
2.Training is often a “band aid” solution to fix a deeper problem or challenge that may exist within an organization.
3.Training is conducted in those areas which are not linked to helping employees make a difference in accelerating meaningful impact on business and customer growth.
4.Training is a one-off event and considered a tick in the box, of a long list of things to do within many organizations.
5.Soft skills change and enhancement cannot be achieved exclusively by sitting in a training room for one or two days.
6.Attitude of many participants, and the organization sponsors is such that they do not believe in the training, when they attend these trainings. The attitude of can do, will do and need to do is absent in many cases.
7.Learning transfer is absent in many of the trainings delivered and the willingness to apply it in the real world, from the participants. Transfer is where what you learn at one point in time influences what you do and who you are and it is seen in the shift in performance. The true effectiveness of any training or coaching is in its practical application and it has to come from the trainer and the participants.
8.Training is often the responsibility of Human Resources (HR) and though in many organizations, the role of HR is changing for the better, HR is not closely involved in the day-to-day business challenges. Thus the essence of achieving a shift in soft skills is disjointed from the business priorities. HR is often the middlemen between the end users of the training and those delivering the training.
9.Inability of the end users, to determine, where do they need assistance from a training or coaching perspective, to achieve meaningful results in terms of their end performance.
10.Duration of the training – time phased or restricting it to 2 -3 days.
So, are all Trainings a Waste of Time and Money? NO
What or Who can make a difference to get the Desired ROI from your training and development ?
1. Have the right attitude
Training is not about cramming the skills. It comes from YOU
->having the curiosity about what can you learn, rediscover, relearn, and/or unlearn,
->embracing the new skills with an open mind.
->practicing and allowing yourself to accept the discomfort in feeling uncomfortable. Reflect on what went well, what can be done differently and what will you continue to do. Learning happens when you practice. You can watch videos, read blogs, self-help books, attend webinars and all of this is ineffective, if you are unwilling to apply and experientially learn. You build sustainable skills by practicing things you have learnt, failing, and trying again and again. Without applying the training to your work, the training will be ineffective.
2. Be Transparent
As a responsible senior employee of your organization or one who cares for your business growth and development, understanding the business challenges and communicating the same to the training provider is key to the effectiveness of any training. Just because you have a budget to spend on training, you don’t need to expend it without having defined outcomes and measurable results. Identifying where you are now and where would you like to be and having a discussion with the trainers or the relevant personnel from the training organization as to how can this gap be covered is essential before you decide to go ahead with the training.
3. What are you doing as a manager?
Be responsible for your team and their success. Learning happens on the job and as a manager, hold your team accountable to make an impactful change and deliver the results expected of them. Ask questions and facilitate their learning through having them practice. Link it to measurable results so that you know where the training has made an impact.
4. Who is your facilitator?
Check their business acumen and background, have some of the participants meet the trainer so that there is a clear understanding of measurable results expected from the training on either side. Determine how have the trainers or the training organization kept themselves up to date with your industry dynamics. Don’t hire a trainer who has no business background and who has no clue about how to design and deliver training that facilitates your behaviour change, necessary to achieve the outcomes you desire.
5. Understand The Training Process
An effective training organization will make sure that the process of learning and development is continuous. They will
-> Before the training
Identify and understand the goals and outcomes, and design the training with discussions, knowledge transfer, relevant role plays or case studies, practice and interactions to meet these goals.
-> During training
A good trainer is aware of the dynamics in the room, engages the participants, gives participants time to practice, and uses methods that will create an impact in making the training WOW.
-> After training
This is where the organizations and the relevant team managers need to take responsibility in terms of how they can create and facilitate an environment so that the skills learnt is applied.
For those who face challenges, group or one-on-one coaching should be offered.
Are trainings a waste of money? ⇒ You can have the best trainers and the best training practices and if you don’t apply what you have learnt in the training, then it is a waste of your money⇐.
If you think training and personal development is just a tick in the box, and is a waste of time for the sales and marketing expert and for the business minded people like you, then, think again. There is a wide spectrum and variety of personal development, training and coaching available in the market. You can ask the right questions and get what is relevant for you and after all that, if you are not willing to work for your goal and apply the skills learnt, then nothing can change.
You would agree that when it comes to developing a new skill or attitudinal change, that, simply doing something one time will not be effective. It would be like sitting behind the wheel, for the first time, for an hour or going to the pool for an hour and expect to pass your driving test or to be able to swim. You have to immediately start applying what you have learnt and practice it the right way, otherwise it is one and done and will be forgotten.
Have the courage to step into the discomfort and start to practice in small ways. It is easier to start in baby steps to achieve sustainable changes than apply huge changes at one go and give up before you even start to internalize it.
I have been to good trainings and bad trainings and the former was effective, when I put the skills into practice consciously and consistently.
Disclosure – I’m a Facilitator and Executive Coach and also a Trainer with Dale Carnegie. At Dale Carnegie, we go through rigorous training before we are selected as Certified Dale Carnegie Trainers. The trainers at Dale Carnegie have the business acumen in that they have been or are investment bankers, engineers, entrepreneurs, teachers, change management experts, and come from different fields. The biggest challenge lies in organizations being willing and committed participants in the learning transfer process. Effective enhancement of skills have been achieved as is evidenced by various testimonials received where the participants are willing to take the learning and apply it in the real world and overcome the challenges they may face in the process. Connect with me and let’s have a chat on your training and coaching needs.