Building Giants Newsletter March 14, 2017

Picture this: A vendor calls someone in Human Resources and pitches their Time Management class: “It’s the next best thing to enhance productivity, returning rave reviews, a 300% return on investment for all kinds of companies, including your competitors!” In their opinion, we had better purchase this class before losing all our market share and face tanking the business due to slow and sloppy work habits.

The Human Resources contact remembers a complaint in staff meetings about slow productivity and general poor response time from the Engineering group, and forwards the vendor’s contact and pitch to the Director of Engineering. The director remembers an order from the general manager to focus on employee development planning. He figures the group could use some organization skills, and tells HR to set up the class. Two sessions are offered and most engineers and maintenance employees attend, learning new tips and tricks to organize their day. They return to work, having had a nice day, with catered food, long breaks and a chance to chit chat with their co-workers. The next day the director asks a few students about the class, they respond positively, that it was good, that they learned some new tips.

This table shows the percentage of expected or typical training results, which, according to research, can be expected from an audience of 100 who attend a typical soft skills workshop:

Learner Outcome These learners used none of the learned concepts at all These learners tried some new skills but gave up before they became a habit These learners used new skills and had a result that helped the business
Percentage of success    ~15%    ~70%    ~15%

Wow, only 15% of training efforts result in a permanent behavior change and a positive change for the business?

The chart below shows the researched reasons for this typical failure. Notice the high levels of failure in the needs assessment and application categories. This shows us the evidence that training cannot succeed in the classroom alone, but that efforts need to be made to support learning at each of four main steps.

Failure Reason: The training was not what the learners needed The learning session itself was poor (Ineffective design) Application environment (no leader support, no incentive)
Researched Percentage      ~40%      ~20%    ~40%
(Brinkerhoff, 2006)

To increase your success rate with training, support your Subject Matter Experts by giving them a Train the Trainer course that teaches them instructional design concepts that succeed. Use the above model as a guide to effective training. When you do hire vendors, make sure that you are partnering with them to meet the true training need, and that their course will support plans to transfer skills into the job. Partner with direct leaders so that they can reinforce the skills, and evaluate the success of the program so that students and leaders alike know if they succeeded.

building giants book cover

Building Giants

Adapted from Katy Caselli’s book : Building Giants: A Proven System To Transform Your Workforce Through Effective Training.