Monday, December 28, 2009

Taking training and rewards out of the black box -Part 1

In my previous post, I talked about making training into a reward. One of the biggest obstacles to doing that is getting the word out about:

1) Training needed/wanted
2) Training available

Without opening up these two things, your training program -- along with all the good it could do your company -- will remain in a black box. And we all know that the only time someone actually looks into the black box is after a disaster.

Here are some tips to open that box, and get training out where it belongs:

1) Find out what kind of training your employees want.

Oh, this sounds sooooo simple. Starting with the employees. Asking questions. But in reality, it is almost never done!

Training is fed to people, top down. With a "We who sit off in our offices and never do the daily work..." directive behind the training choices, is it any wonder that most training has little or no impact on learning, and is in fact dreaded by employees? Where did we forget that employees are grown-ups, and are perfectly capable of knowing what interests them, what would make their jobs easier and what questions they need answered!

2) When in doubt, ask why.

OK, let's say you asked what kind of training people want and you got the following list:
  • Chinese language (from a salesperson)
  • How to be a good manager (from a machine operator on the factory floor)
  • Microsoft Office skills (from the Art Director)
Wondering why a machine operator wants a management class? Or the Art Director wants training in office? And the Chinese language training? You have no idea!

Traditional black box thinking would be to say no to all of them.

But if you ask, you may discover that the machine operator is taking night classes, and hopes to become a manager or supervisor some day, the Art Director needs help setting up spreadsheets to track projects, and that salesperson just noticed a growing demand for products like yours from Chinese buyers, and wants to be able to open that market.

3) Take away the stigma of asking for training

In tooooo many companies, asking for training in anything directly related to your job is seen as an admission of incompetence. So even employees who really need the information, and who would benefit from the training are afraid to ask for it.

Letting employees know it's a strength to ASK for training in your field will open the door to a better trained, better performing, and (incidentally), more committed workforce. And what employer wouldn't want that!

Tomorrow, I'll talk about getting the word out about training.


Creative Chaos Consultant said...

So basic and so true-training programs need to change in order to better serve employees. I particularly liked your second example: "When in doubt, ask why."

It's all about trying to help people reach their full potential and not becoming a roadblock to their success.

It reminds me of a great post from the HR Capitalist entitled "The Secret to HR that Matters"

Centenial College said...


I think you can get important things through training. I think in many corporate office provided training sessions.

Human Resources College

Training Time said...

Creative Chaos...

Love that name....heading over the check out your site in a sec. And thanks...the roadblock mentality has been reality for too long. Sadly, it's a tough roadblock to move.

And thanks for the HR Capitalist link...following that now... :-)

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