I first became a trainer many years ago, I worked myself up about whether my trainees
were learning anything useful, whether I was using the right approach, and so
on. And these were fair questions to ask, as any trainer worth their salt
will reflect critically on their own practice. After working with a number of
organizations as both an internal trainer and external consultant, I began to
condense all of the lessons I learned along the way into the five "rights"
I see these "rights"
as the basic requirements that need to be satisfied for a training program to
have a real and positive impact on an organization. As you read my description
for each, consider how the training you design and deliver is meeting these necessary
elements. These five "rights" are:
2. Right Learning
3. Right Time
4. Right Method
employees genuinely requiring skill development are nominated for training
is no point wasting employees' time and your organization's resources shuffling
people into a training room or making them complete on-line modules if training
will not help them perform any better. Conduct a proper training needs analysis
up front and only prescribe training where imparting new skills and knowledge
will help lift performance. Be especially wary of managers that see every performance
problem as an opportunity to put people in front of a trainer. During your performance
diagnosis phase, get managers to appreciate that a performance shortfall can occur
for a variety of reasons. When an employee does not do as their manager expects,
it may be because they:
don't know it's expected
b) think they're already doing it
c) don't want
to do it
d) can't do it
e) don't know how to do it
will only help where all or part of the performance shortfall is because of reason
e) above. Use the employee performance diagnostic flowchart at www.businessperform.com/html/poor_employee_performance.html
to help you and your managers determine the reasons for poor performance. Try
also to avoid the waste that comes with resorting to a "scattergun"
approach". Some managers feel that because James and Judy require training
in handling difficult customers, it's an even better idea to subject the whole
department to the same training. Not only can these resources be better used elsewhere,
employees will resent having their time wasted on useless training.
program content and activities closely match organization and learner objectives
to the heart of what problem or opportunity your organization wants training to
assist with. And then design the learning to match those objectives. Don't fall
into the trap of asking supervisors or employees what training they would like.
This approach more often than not misses the real business needs and is typically
the result of superficial performance appraisal discussions and employee surveys.
Trainers then find that the "smorgasbord" of training programs they
present in the annual training calendar has few takers as employees find work
priorities taking precedence over "discretionary" learning.
addition, with no clear learning objectives tied to organizational imperatives,
the temptation is to fill out training programs with all kinds of superfluous
content and exercises. Focus on the "must haves" for the program to
meet the organization's goals. With the time that you have left over, include
the "nice to haves".
is neither delivered too early nor too late
is a window of opportunity in which to teach employees new skills. Miss that window
and the training will be nowhere near as effective. If the training is conducted
too early before the new systems are implemented in their workplace, when they
return they will have limited opportunity to practice their new skills. Without
repeated application on the job, they will quickly forget what they had learned.
if the training is conducted too late, they are at risk of picking up or continuing
wrong behaviors. Not only can this lead to costly mistakes, it will take a lot
more time and resources to correct such bad habits once they become ingrained.
Delivering the training in a timely manner is also important for maintaining employee
morale and efficiency. If new systems are implemented that leave employees floundering
without the right skills, they are more likely to become disengaged or to leave
the organization altogether.
and delivery modes match learning objectives and learner preferences
established training methods that are guaranteed to aid learning. Depending on
the subject matter, start with simple concepts and activities, building up to
the more complex. Or begin with an overview of the subject before delving into
the detail. Likewise, chunk the content into easily digestible portions that make
sense to the learners.
Pacing is also
important, allowing time between chunks for assimilation and practice. The opportunity
to practice is critical to mastering new skills, so make sure that your practice
sessions are not treated as a short addendum to the program. Where there are budget
or time constraints, avoid the pressure to cut back on opportunities for trainees
to apply the new skills.
learning styles of your particular trainees. However, do not go overboard and
eliminate all ways of learning bar one or two. A group of engineers may prefer
a lot of theory presented verbally and in writing. Lectures with an abundance
of supplementary reading may be the dominant choices here. This approach may not
suit a more tactile group that prefers to learn through trail and error. Using
a problem-based approach to learning may work better for this group.
characteristics of the group should also influence the media you use to deliver
the content and facilitate the activities. Using reading lists of books and other
resources will not work well with trainees with low literacy skills. Similarly,
delivering content and facilitating chat room discussions over the internet with
trainees not versed in these technologies will prove to be a frustrating learning
experience for them. Live demonstrations and audio or video tape recordings will
be a better match here. Weigh all of these factors into the design of your training
5. Right Environment
training and workplace settings are optimized for learning and later training
are physically uncomfortable, their learning will be hindered. Make sure that
the training room is sufficiently lit, the room is not too hot or too cold, seats
are comfortable, trainees are given sufficient breaks and the seating arrangement
allows for optimal interaction between trainees and trainer.
as important for good learning outcomes is the emotional environment. Set the
conditions for interpersonal relationships that foster learning by encouraging
trainees to take risks and respect differences. Prompt lots of questions and encourage
discussions that allow participants to learn from each other.
happens before the trainee begins the training and after they return to their
workplace will largely determine the impact of your training program. Workplace
environment factors that you will need to design into your program include ensuring
ongoing and visible support from the trainees' managers and supervisors and meaningful
rewards that encourage the application of the new skills on the job. Other factors
include the provision of on-the-job support in the form of job aids and coaching
from recognized experts.
of the five "rights" do you firmly have under your belt? How many could
do with some attention? Find yourself a mentor that can help you identify your
strengths and your greatest opportunities for improvement. If you have a college
in your local area, enroll in a beginning trainer's course or take the next level
up. Make sure you write out an improvement plan with your action items so that
you can compare your capability in six month's time. Be proud of your achievements
as you hold a pivotal role in your workplace. Organizations can only get things
done and goals achieved through the efforts of people exercising the right skills.
Without skill developers such as yourself, organizations would stand still. I
wish you well on your journey.
Leslie Allan. All rights reserved. Printed with permission.
Trial an Australian-built
training needs analysis online survey tool:
is an Australian built online feedback and survey tool used extensively by Australian
and New Zealand based organisations to conduct online training needs analysis.
The tool can also be used by HR to conduct cost effective staff climate surveys,
exit interviews, and 'new starter' feedback surveys to name a few popular uses.
complete the form below to arrange your FREE custom-branded training needs analysis
survey demonstration and a PeoplePulse pricing and information sheet.
completing the form below, a PeoplePulse representative will contact you to discuss
your needs and current situation. From there we will set up your demo and arrange
a suitable time to show the system to you:
be assured that your correspondence with us is confidential. We will not divulge
email addresses or any other details you provide to outside sources.
above demonstration request form was powered by PeoplePulse.
Leslie Allan is Managing
Director of Business Performance Pty Ltd, a company providing practical online
information and resources in a range of business areas, including managing
training. Leslie is also the author of five books on training and change management.
Visit his company's website at www.businessperform.com
for a range of practical guides, tools and templates and to download free introductory
chapters and resources.