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18 Points for a Grown-up Training Professional

About Author - Deepak Mishra The writer is associated with Qualityze Inc., USA and has implemented Quality Management System for over a decade. He served as Implementer, Assessor & Trainer for International Standards & Quality Systems. He’s led Competency Development Programs mostly in large sized organizations. His credentials include certifications as a Lead Auditor & Trainer for Quality Management System. Technically serving to 5 German organizations his past accomplishments include German ISO Certification Bodies as DQS, TUV and leading Automotive Brands as Volkswagen, Skoda, Audi, Porsche & Lamborghini.
16 Apr 2024
18-points-for-effective-training-professional

This blog outlines 18 key factors for effective Training Management that serves as guiding principles for any organization striving for an effective and efficient knowledge management. Enjoy reading it!

1. Define Training requirements in consultation with Line Managers – Dynamic Updation

Often we make mistake that Training Requirements are determined on periodic basis but in-between required revisit is often neglected to accommodate ad-hoc but critical changes; For example, We can be all set for 1-year Training Plan however in the case of a major technological shift such as for EV technology etc., if it requires a quick and timely addressal then how it is going to be met? This must be answered.

2. Prioritize Trainings : Immediate / Short Term / Long Term

We should know our focus area where to focus in what way in line with Budgeted cost.

Not only categorization has to be done considering key areas but also applicable time line and achieving the targeted programs within the stipulated time frame and that too considering all aspects such as finalizing the right resource whether internal or external and coming up with right content etc.

3. Determine Applicable Time Period:

Calendar Year / Financial Year / Corporates / Business Operations

A standardized Time Period has to be adopted to measure Training Process performance considering our major workforce. Imagine if an organization’s Group headquarters being in China but tomorrow, they come up with another plant in Canada which might contribute 60% of their total production so we must establish a sync between the Period of evaluation to be followed either in terms of Calendar Year (Jan-Dec) or country specific Financial Year Period (e.g. April-Mar). There is a reason that employee appraisal might be tied up with FY which also has an output of TNI and overlooking here may keep a major section of workforce behind almost a Quarter thus scattered. (If it isn’t applicable in current scenario then think of it in future where Management wants to join hands for a venture such as EV operations related production in any other country? Volkswagen already started its biggest venture in Canada! A $20 Billion Battery Gigafactory! So future possibilities can’t be ruled out.

4. Establish a Sync : Designation / Grade / Job Role vs. Skill Gap Level

So, lets say You have 4 Grades of Asst. Manager (AM Grade-1, AM Grade-II etc) or plain hierarchy as L1-L9. So each role based valuation should be evident explaining on what activity based such Grading differs and accordingly it should also match with Skill Level defined within your organization. So logic must be there why different designations or Roles exist and skill gap is also determined with exact mapping of it!

5. Content Design Involvement of Operational People / Line Managers

Training Content must be developed in consultation with Line Managers or sample audiences. The Audiences shouldn’t be surprised with Presentations shown during the training session if they can’t relate things in their practical working environment. Instead of being fancy, It should be simple, interesting, crispy and to the point just like a well-aimed dart!

For example, developing Leadership Quality is actually required at all Levels. If we expect even Blue collared staff to work with ownership and in a detailed oriented way then we cannot let them remain dissected with mainstream without having an inclusive approach and still expecting them to take Initiative or having an empathetic approach and working with ownership.

At here do remember that Images being used must be meaningful and related to the content being taught. Again instead of indulging into fancy things the images ought to be tightly aligned to instructional intent or else it’ll put undue load on learners. Even studies have proved this!

6. Schedule vs. Content

Imagine we are compelling the Safety Trainer to fill a 90 minute slot on ‘proper usage of ladder’. Here, if the trainer simply tries to over-stretch, then audiences may won’t get along well. Thus it is very important to keep the topics addressed in a way that audiences shouldn’t find boring and also shouldn’t get confused with new topics being added by the trainer only to fill the slot!

Nevertheless, Safety Trainings must be engaging. So schedule is not important but the Content is important.

7. Training Effectiveness Evaluation: Before vs. After

Pre Training Evaluation:

There shouldn’t be difference of opinion between potential trainee that if supervisor thinks someone lacks time-management skills then the subordinate doesn’t take it in right spirits. The compelled trainings anyway aren’t going to be effective. A trust building approach has to be followed to convey that trainings act as a tool to achieve organizational goals via individual’s effective contribution and it actually empowers them.

Post Training Evaluation:

There must be some logic to have a wait time, reflect and sustain the training outcome. Thus, time must be taken to really measure the effectiveness of training for an employee and the method must be adopted with mutually agreed terms. Such as, if Written Evaluation is being taken then it must be based on Questionnaires that are developed to gauge conceptual understanding and not factual or only data-based understating. For example, per year safety incident related figure is not that much important compared to factors that cause such incidents and whether audiences understand to prioritize and distinguish between most prevalent issues and there determination to make a safer workplace so that everyone can go home safely after spending the day at work!

Apart from such Written tests other approaches can be taken such as Interviews, Presentations, Direct Observation, Assignment, Projects, Workplace monitoring, On-Job Monitoring, Peer-Review, One-on-One sessions and other modes that may suit better based on job role.

8. Percentage of Training : Internal Trainer vs. External Vendor (Quantity vs. Quality)

Is proper data analysis being done? Such as to identify whether internal trainers are proving costly or external ones? And this has to be seen not only from Training imparted data but also from satisfaction level of the training audiences which can be extended till effectiveness check.

In some cases it might prove as a better option to have more external trainers and less internal ones, yet a strong internal resource have to deployed who should be able to negotiate, onboard, control and monitor external vendors. He must be able to think clearly in requirement with Management’s expectations and company goals.

9. Cost of Poor Quality vs. Cost of Poor Training

We talk about cost of quality and cost of poor quality, But what about thinking and analysing cost of poor training? When was the last time we realized that an incident in warehouse happened not due to non-providing of training but missing aspects that were required to be given in that particular training program.

MHEs, Working at Height, Complex Lay out/Routes, PPEs, casual attitude, Behavioural attitude, Negligence vs. Being over-confident…there are lot of human issues as well that has to be dealt with care and proper attention.

A Good Quality system doesn’t works as straightjacket! So, it must be accommodative, but all such accommodative aspects must be communicated also during the Knowledge Transfer sessions. And people should reflect on what is being told to them.

10. Vendor Selection Criteria : Critical vs. Trivial

While selecting Training Vendor, we must keep in mind for which critical topic expertise doesn’t exist internally and we must source the right agency for it. The less important topics can still be managed via internal resources.

But even that also has to be determined at our own level. Remember the principal of:

“Vital Few and Trivial Many”

11. Training Vendor Costing : Long Term Assurance based negotiations.

A good negotiation is based on mutual benefits on both side and is not one sided!

A compelled vendor may not always put their best resource for us since training business is largely based on networking of trainers mostly associated on sub-contract basis even at Vendor end.

Hence, for critical topics we must have an understanding with vendors to put their best efforts and resources for us and a long terms association related assurance can be given at here.

12. Vendor’s Training Content: Its Control & our Involvement

Training Vendors can’t be let on loose and wherever key processes are involved; their content must undergo to scrutiny of the buying organization.

13. Vendor Performance Evaluation: Action Plan

Based not only on the feedback, but also effectiveness being proved or unproved; the Re-valuation of Training Vendor’s performance has to be carried out periodically and accordingly actions to be taken and same has to be presented for Management Review as well.

14. Skill Level Determination:

Skill Level Determination at required scaling has to be done based on ‘Should’ vs. ‘Actual’.

This has to be monitored under dynamic environment. It’ll give holistic view of overall Skill Gap within organization and also to utilize excess skills or multi-skilled staff during an hour of need.

Various Skill levels can be defined such as Basic, Expert, Advances and Specialist etc.

15. Incident Analysis vs. Training History

All incidents within organization must be traced with training history of the individuals involved. This may not limit only with competency development but also effectiveness of trainings that reflects in individuals’ aptitude and attitude both!

16. Training Data Analysis:

The training has to be analysed at individual level as well. Often, it is seen that key people for which trainings was meant to be, aren’t made available to attend trainings due to being tied-up in operational task related priorities. In such scenario, the less occupied staff is often aligned as a substitute. Thus few staff may not only consume the budget but technically serve as a substitute or alternative only to mark attendance and achieve training hours related target at departmental level.

Here, Training department may overlook since they are already under pressure to complete their allocated training hours thus focus gets shifted to Quantity instead of Quality! Its ok to adjourn a scheduled session due non availability of intended participants.

Same way, the quorum must be followed while presenting the analysis of Training Data, since actual picture has to be shown to relevant stakeholders ensuring them to take informed decisions rather on assumptions.

17. Training Targets : Budget vs. Training hours

Just like someone’s travel ticket is non-transferable. Same way training for an individual is also meant to be non-transferable. Often department heads/section heads give consent to depute some other staff to attend training in lieu of the actual participant so as not to miss the allocated budget and also to attain required training hours.

This practice is common due non availability of key staff being stuck into critical production issues.

But in actual, department heads must be made answerable about unattended trainings from their staff or while surrendering the missed training related budget which was originally allocated to them.

18. Effective Communication / Notification

Effective Communication has to be conveyed multiple times well before the actual training session. There might be some Electronics LMS tool into the usage within the organization but still some mechanism must be placed (extended as a human touch) to understand from the potential audience whether they are aware and prepared at their end to attend the scheduled sessions. This is crucial at where the pre-training material has to be referred by the target audience before coming to the actual session and may require support for it.

Thanks for reading our blog. If you wish to know more about Qualityze and its Training Management Solution, then visit www.qualityze.com

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