In my article Scoring a Hat Trick, I explored the top three things that employees, managers and business leaders can do to help facilitate the effective transfer of learning from the classroom to the workplace.
In this article, I want to suggest some Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for you skills development partners: those people who are responsible for delivering people-development programmes in your organisation. They may be employed by you or this service may be outsourced. In either case, these questions should be applied to measure the quality and impact of your skills development partners.
1: Understands organisational goals
Demonstrates a clear understanding of your organisational goals and is able to map skills development programmes to these. This insight is needed to check the validity of tabled training programmes. It is vital that your investment in people development directly supports your organisational goals.
If not, your money will be wasted. In South Africa, smart employers use skills development to achieve two distinct objectives (a) to meet their statutory obligations regarding equity (B-BBEE) and skills development (Skills Development Act) and (b) to improve organisational performance.
Your skills development partner needs to understand your goals in each of these areas and should be able to advise how best to achieve these goals.
2: Knows the changes they need to see
Is able to articulate the desired behavioural changes. These behaviours should be clearly outlined in relation to each level of employee in your organisation. For example, to state that a delegate should “effectively manage time” is not enough, more detail is required. For example:
Understands the factors that make up your organisational culture. These include the behaviours, values and attitudes of staff at all levels, as well as the expectations and demands of the operational environment.
3: Organisational culture unpacked
These elements are relevant to the content of training material and the delivery platform. For example, they will dictate whether classroom-based learning or a more practical methodology is appropriate.
4: Understands the learners
Is able to deliver content that is relevant to the particular learner group. Most training providers offer ‘off the shelf’ or generic material that they work through, regardless of the client. Often, it is largely theoretical. In today’s age of information technology, access to theory, to information is easier than ever.
Content of skills development programmes needs to bring this theory to life, to make it interesting and applicable to the real-life circumstances of the learners.
5: Holds learners accountable
Creates a framework whereby participants are held accountable to use what they have learned. Employee engagement and motivation are central to the successful transfer of skills to the workplace.
If participants understand before they attend skills development programmes that they will be held accountable as outlined above and they understand how this will be measured, they will be more inclined to focus on, participate in and apply learning.
6: Can demonstrate ROI
Is able to measure return on investment and includes this in the procurement process. All too often, the choice of training partner simply comes down to the lowest, per-delegate quote. People are still the greatest asset in most businesses and the impact of their performance on the bottom line must be considered.
This is especially relevant when choosing who will deliver training programmes. They should also be considered on the probability that their deliverables will result in, for example, labour savings, productivity increases or new income generated.
7: Understands effective business training
Shows continued development and improvement of skills development programmes. International trends should be considered, as well as the changing landscape of your particular business sector.
Innovative ways of facilitating learning should be demonstrated; the days of traditional, classroom-based, lecture-style learning interventions are numbered. They are simply not effective enough.