KFA Writes

Training - A right intervention, not a one stop solution

2019-07-01

Last week when I was having a casual conversation at a party with one of my acquaintances about the Keto diet, a senior bank personnel from one of the banks where I had recently facilitated training, came over to me. He hesitantly said, “Kishu Jee, despite the fact that we have provided a few training sessions to our employees from different training providers, we feel that we have not seen the desired behavior in them, I think those training sessions were ineffective”.

Though his response was not something that seemed pleasant, I was not shocked by the statement as this represents the perspective of majority of my clients regarding training. People think that training is a fast and easy solution to all the problems. Moreover, it is believed that few training sessions can change the entire perception, behavior and performance of the employees which is nothing more than an illusion.

In reality, training is not a one stop solution that can solve the organizational problem perpetually. If you think a few training sessions can drastically change performance, productivity and behavior of your employees, you will only end up being disappointed. These things are very complex and influenced by numerous other variables. For instance, consider this scenario, imagine you are standing on the top of a hill and you have two balls of a similar shape, size and dimension. You throw one ball from the top and immediately release another ball from the same place in a matter of a millisecond with the same exertion of force. Now you see, would the balls land on the same place even though they were being thrown by the same person from the same place? No, Definitely Not!  Let me tell you why not, the event of those balls landing is not only influenced by one or two variables as such but also affected by various other factors like the direction of wind, texture of the ball, the quality of rubber used etc.  Similarly, the employees’ motivation level, behavior and their performance as a whole are not only dependent upon a single variable which can be fixed just by the training. They actually are dependent upon a multitude of other variables like work environment, organizational culture, employee relationship, pay scale, etc., and the list goes on. Hence, the training is not a solution but the mandatory intervention that would take you one step closer to the solution that you have been longing for.

More precisely, my honest opinion towards training is that it can neither be solely blamed if you do not get the outcome you desired nor can it be credited entirely if the outcome is achieved. However, the question now may arise that what's the point of spending so much time and money on training? To understand this, let's take an example from our own home; when we want a change in the behavior of our loved ones we tell them once, if that doesn't help we tell them again and again and again. We keep on trying despite the result that might not make us happy. The only reason we do so is because it is the "right thing to do". Similar is the case with training the employees, even though we might not always get the desired result from training we should keep on reinforcing because it is the right thing to do.

Having said so, we should always strive to get the best out of the training we provide as it is undoubtedly one of the major investments done by any organization in the form of an intervention. For this, consider the following success factors of any training program:

1. The objectives of training to be set at micro level:

The training objectives set should be as specific as possible and should follow the micro-level need assessment. The objective you set for the training should not be vague like improving the communication of the employees. Instead it should be something like teaching employees to say ‘NO’ to the customers when needed, coaching employees on e-mailing etiquettes etc. The more specific the objectives of training are, more will be the satisfaction level from the results. However, this is something I see that lacks in Nepal because here the training need assessment itself is done superficially, let alone making the training objectives specific and this is from where the dissatisfaction from training stems from. Having said so, it is never too late to accept the mistakes and improve it. So, the first step as I have mentioned would be to conduct the need assessment at the micro level.

2. Selecting the Right Training Package:

After the need assessment is done, you should select the training module that really addresses the issue that arises after assessment. The selected training module should be relevant to the industry and must be specific. You should always keep in mind that regardless of any type of training modality, fun and takeaways are its two major elements. More precisely, the training cannot be just fun because training is not only about refreshment. Similar is the case with takeaways. Too many takeaways and lectures would be boring, and trainees will not be able to grasp the information that is given all at once. So, the bottom line is fun factor and takeaways should be balanced in any kind of training so that the trainees would be refreshed and be able to take away their learning back to their workplace.

3. Impact Analysis:

It might sound like I am trying to sit on the fence but remember we should not evaluate the training solely on what changes it could bring or what it could not. Expecting too much from a training program will only stop us from doing the right thing. That being said, measuring the effectiveness is equally important after trainings are conducted,. The following questions help in the measurement of the effectiveness of training.

            a) How was the training? How was/were the trainer/trainers? How were the contents of the training? Were the logistics properly managed?

These questions can be answered immediately after the training is conducted through feedback from the trainees.

            b) What changes could be seen in the trainees after they attended the training?

This question however is more difficult to answer and cannot be answered immediately. Since performance and behavior are factors that are influenced by many variables. In a nutshell, the impact analysis could be done by following these three stages, namely:

•  Taking immediate feedback from the trainees.

•  Taking note of the change that could be seen in terms of skills they have acquired, knowledge they have gained or change in behavior that could be seen.

•  Measuring the difference in output in terms of productivity, performance and the like before and after the training.

To wrap up my thoughts, I would say training is a mandatory intervention rather than a one stop solution. You might not get the desired results in one go but it definitely takes you one step closer to the desired result. If you keep doing the right things you will eventually get the right results.

-Kishlaya Jha

The Author is CEO of KFA, leading Institute providing Training, Education and Consulting Services to various sectors in Nepal.

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