Personally, training conjures up memories of my unsuccessful attempts at training my pet dog fetch a ball. Back in 1987, I did not have the luxury of taking my pet to a professional dog trainer and so I tried several tried and tested tricks that I had read about with disastrous results. I gave up after several attempts and never really bothered to figure out the right way to make my dog fetch the ball.
The training department is often seen as this pesky trainer and most often than not, the training department unleashes the same set of tried and tested training strategies on unsuspecting employees with very little or no consequence. Organizations have lofty goals and fancy mission and vision statements. But as they hire more people, the mission degenerates into a job and then to a task for countless employees. The role of the training department is hence very important. They share the responsibility of keeping the organization’s mission and goals alive and kicking in the hearts of the employees. The bottom-line is pretty simple – organizations cannot transform the market with their products and services, without transforming the employees first.
I am passionate in the belief that training departments should reinvent themselves to bring about a transformation experience among the employees. So what are the key points once should keep in mind when embarking on such a loft journey?
- All transformations are personal. Every individual goes through a transformation in a very unique way. Every employee joins an organization for a reason. It is up the HR department to ensure that new recruits are on board for the right reason. Aligning the values of a potential hire with that of the organization is a key first step. Companies go to extraordinary lengths to ensure the quality of raw materials and in the same way, training departments should work very closely with the Organizational Development and HR teams to ensure that they have the right raw materials to work with. This will allow the training department to better understand learner motivations, diagnose aspirations to tailor a transformational experience for the employee.
- Investments firms (unlike the one we keep hearing about) have the responsibility of informing its customers to the perils of an investment decision and guide them in the best interests of the customer’s financial security and future. Similarly, training departments should guide every employee in defining their personal goals related to the job in such a way that it is meaningful. Sometime, we come up with goals and expectations that are delusional. This is where training departments should collaborate very closely with the HR departments. While talent management applications allow organizations to come up with training needs for every employee, these should not be taken for granted as most often than not, training needs are determined for a role and not for the person.
- The act of delivering training should be a series of memorable experiences and transformational encounters for the employees. While we have several companies staging memorable training experiences (such as leadership boot camps in the jungle), the same effort has not percolated to training the rest of the employee base. This is a serious gap that needs to be addressed if we are truly seeking transformation among the employees.
- Reinforcing transformations is often forgotten. While it is a known fact that retention rates go down with time, training reinforcements are far and few between. Mobile technologies and platforms such as the Anywhere Learner Mobile can serve as powerful reinforcement tools that can sustain transformations with contextual training reinforcements.
To summarize, training departments should reinvent their self-perception first before they set about transforming the rest of the employees. The role of the training department in the coming decades will be to aid the organization in transforming the marketplace by transforming every individual employee. The training department should work closely with the HR department in making sure that organization policies support such transformational endeavors.