Kirsty Chadwick on What to Ask When Training Staff

Kirsty Chadwick on What to Ask When Training Staff


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An effective employee training programme is vital to the long-term success of any business. A solid understanding of policies, job functions, goals and vision lead to increased motivation, morale and productivity for employees – and higher profits for your business.

Kirsty Chadwick, founder and chairperson of The Training Room Online, an online and computer-based e-learning company, says there are five questions you should ask to ensure you get the best out of your training initiatives.

Related: What Young People Want From Work

1. Why are we doing this training intervention?

Training programmes must be linked to a specific objective and a desired outcome. You need to ask why you are doing a particular training intervention, what pain-point in the business is spurring you on to do this, and what business need you expect to be addressed.

It sounds obvious, but many business owners do training for training’s sake, and then find it hard to pinpoint obvious benefits. Any training programme must be linked to the business strategy and offer identifiable value.

Say, for example, sales are too slow, customers are complaining, or you have a new product to get out into the market – these are all clearly identified needs that can be addressed by a learning intervention.

2. How will we measure the outcomes and return on investment?

No training cycle is complete without an evaluation of its effectiveness. Evaluations must take several factors into account:

Which training methods worked with which topics and which employees; how did the training affect employee performance; were all stated goals reached and if not, why? Answering these questions will enable you to prepare for the next round of training. Your goal is to see how well employees incorporate the new principles, skills, and knowledge into their jobs.

3. How are we going to do the training?

A blended learning approach combines the online delivery of content with classroom-based learning. It enables you to provide the training material in electronic format, so that it is available to learners when they need it, but also gives them the opportunity to interact with fellow learners and to learn collaboratively.

4. Who are we training?

Identify who the target audience is, and how you will bring them together in a learning environment. Knowing who the audience is will enable you to determine whether the training should be delivered full-time, or whether the participants would benefit from a series of interventions over a longer period of time.

5. What is the attitude of our employees to training?

Hostility is a sign that past training initiatives have failed. Loss of productivity and workplace dissatisfaction are also signs that training has not had the desired outcome.

The best way to remedy the problem is to constantly measure how well employees are absorbing material. This can easily be done with the right technology.

Ask yourself

Are you providing training that’s linked to company strategy and values? Then are you following up and evaluating training effectiveness?

Related: How to Hire and Retain Great Staff

Monique Verduyn
Monique Verduyn is a freelance writer. She has more than 12 years’ experience in writing for the corporate, SME, IT and entertainment sectors, and has interviewed many of South Africa’s most prominent business leaders and thinkers. Find her on Google+.