Our employees are not machines, they are emotional beings, we need to look beyond systematic approaches to training needs analysis
How do we know what training to give?
Traditionally in the world of training there has been a movement to do what is called “gap analysis” or training needs analysis to help identify the needs that training must deliver. From a systematic point of view, it was thought that the “best practice” would be to do as little training as necessary to plug the gap.
Good for business
So identifying just the “essential” information means short training times, less time away from the “day job”, and only the skills and knowledge that the individual needs is trained
Missing the point
Efficiency in logic and data is one thing, but this “best practice” also fails to understand that humans are not machines. That sometimes giving only the essentials causes more problems in the medium to long term,
Develop the business by developing the people
Taking the Henry Ford approach to business efficiency, and looking at business as a machine could be said to be appropriate for a factory type mentality, where every days it’s more of the same, but when the inputs are varying, and the processes are apt to change, such as in a service or value added environment, then the human factor needs to be understood. By developing people to have a little more skills than absolutely essential is both an investment in the people, and an investment in the business, for knowing what happens before and after your role provides some context, and when decisions are required, this additional knowledge can help ensure the correct decision is made.
An example of this is in data input. When the data available is slightly different from usual, say in a stock or finance system, knowing what will happen with that data can help the employee decide what to input, or more importantly when to ask for more information.
Humans are social not mechanical beings. We need to know “how” things connect not just “what” to do. We also want and sometimes “need” to know “how” what we do connects with other people in our social circle… our colleagues.
For training to be effective we need to do more than just the mechanical gap, we need to show the context and connections. This can mean that at a superficial level we need to train people in more than they need.
Yes this can appear inefficient… BUT it is essential for effective working. We need to look beyond the basic logic and mechanics, and thanks to modern neuroscience and research into how human learn, we now know that more defiantly is more when it comes to learning, In other words 1 + 1 = 3 when it comes to learning…
Content + Context = Effective Learning