How to get training to stick and work

So you've been on a training course, what will you do differently tomorrow?

For the last 23 years, I’ve been running training courses across the globe. Of all the training I have delivered, the most important question I've asked participants is, “What will you do differently tomorrow?”. 

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In my first role in Learning, I would see managers attend a workshop and proudly place their A4 ring binder above their desk next to the others showing them off like, “Hey, I got my helping an old lady across the road badge”, yet doing nothing noticeably different from the day prior to the workshop. This is not necessarily about evaluation or getting to an ROI. As Michael Porter wrote “If you have to ask about the ROI of training, then you just don’t get it”.

And for me, this is not about the training department justifying their annual budget, but more about the individual’s investment of time and energy.

What's the point?

If an individual can’t take away two or three insights from a well-structured and informed workshop, then they’re on the wrong workshop. It’s really important for the individual, the training department and the organisation, that something changes as a result of the training. Structuring learning so that it is ‘Monday morning relevant’ will ensure that, when Monday morning comes, there will be a marked change in how they fulfil their roles, be it faster, better or even lower cost – somehow, more effective or efficient.

Start with the end in mind

But that isn’t the start point. You should always start with the end in mind - what are the desired outcomes? The end is that little something that will produce results. The start point is the ability to diagnose what is not happening in the organisation, team or individual. What could be improved? What is not as good as it could be? Once this has been identified you can then to determine how that can be corrected.

Now we can start to structure learning, and to understand the extent to which the learner/s have the skills and don’t apply them; or if the solution is more tell and show oriented. That’s where the best training companies live – in my humble opinion!

The trainer, coach or facilitator then needs to be provocative, to ignite the need to do things differently in the learner. The aim is to create positive discretionary attitudes and behaviours. Then comes the role of the employer; they need to hold the learner to account in applying their new skill or knowledge to the workplace. Not a role for the learning  department but for the line manager and not once at the post course review, but every day.


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