A few weeks ago I was interviewed by PDH Academy.
I was asked some interesting questions. Questions that on reflection I should have been able to answer easily. But actually in a wide context were more difficult than I expected.
Having thought about these, I would urge all readers of this to apply the same questions internally. What do we need to do to ensure that we deliver what the business NEEDS and not what it WANTS. This can be harder than it sounds. They also wanted to focus on getting trainees’ buy-in to the value of training provision, especially around mandatory and safety related training.
- If a company or organisation identifies a problem or issue, how can they tell if it can be fixed or addressed through additional training?
- When structuring a typical training course, what are some of the principles you follow in order for the course to be effective?
- What kinds of tangible benefits can a company receive by encouraging their employees (or providing funds for them) to complete a safety course?
- What can the individuals who are taking these courses do to help ensure that they practice what they learn long after the courses have been completed?
- In the future, what role will online training courses play in helping to maximise the odds of success for companies and organisations?
Here are some of the questions they asked and my responses.
If a company or organisation identifies a problem or issue, how can they tell if it can be fixed or addressed through additional training?
When a company identifies a problem or issue, they need to determine if it is a process, an operation, or a skill issue for training to be effective. Only if the issue is a knowledge or skill issue is the problem likely to be “fixed” by training. A simple test is to put a person with the skills into the job to see if the issue goes away. If it does, it’s a training issue. If not, it is something else. The key is to measure the need again after the training. if the need is still there, the training was not effective. To many organisations, this Agile-based approach fits well with their operational philosophy. But it’s not the most cost-effective method.
When structuring a typical training course, what are some of the principles you follow in order for the course to be effective?
Ten years ago, I could have answered this easily. But in today’s climate, organisations shy away from traditional courses. The approach I take is a simple one:
- What is it people need to be able to do after the training?
- How will we know that they are doing what they should be able to do?
Then I look at the content and break it down:
- What can they read about on their own? – pre-reading
- What do I need to take them through? – the main content in the course
- What do they need to learn through others (activities)? – course activities and group work
- What do they need line manage support with? – an action plan with the line manager back at work
What kinds of tangible benefits can a company receive by encouraging their employees (or providing funds for them) to complete a safety course?
Tangible benefits for safety-related training can be a challenge. Most organisations treat this as a compliance issue and take the lowest cost route as a result. This is rarely the best route.
If they had data from sickness or injuries, it is easier to demonstrate bottom-line value. When done well, good safety training can reduce employee sickness, improve productivity, and increase employee engagement. To me, how an organisation approaches safety-related training clearly shows the values of the organisation. Are their people important or not?
What are some strategies for getting a worker to view a training course as a learning opportunity rather than a mandatory task which must be endured?
Getting employees to see a training course as an opportunity is easy. But it does take time. The following are things I have done to keep “mandatory training” relevant and interesting:
- Make sure the training course is seen as relevant to the employee. How does it fit their job?
- Make the training interesting. Create curiosity.
- Ensure that senior management are seen to participate too.
- If a program is annual, change the content a little from year to year, but keep it interesting.
What can the individuals who are taking these courses do to help ensure that they practice what they learn long after the courses have been completed?
To keep skills and behaviours alive in individuals long after the training course is easy if you have competent line managers and team leaders. When people know that managers are interested and supportive of ensuring good practice, the individuals will embrace these practices. Managers need to “catch people doing things right.” They must coach in a non-threatening way on a regular basis. and insist that lessons from the training are applied not just occasionally, but every time.
In the future, what role will online training courses play in helping to maximise the odds of success for companies and organisations?
Online courses for many things, especially mandatory training, is already here. But for online compliance and mandatory training to work, it is vital that individuals realise that getting the “pass” on the screen is not the end of training, but rather the beginning. When training is taken from the classroom to the screen, the manager becomes more responsible for the training outcomes. The manager needs to coach each employee to make sure the learning is applied.