As we begin a new year, many of us in the learning and development field (and other fields too) are involved in planning. We are planning training offerings, needs assessments, program roll-outs, reviewing previous program evaluations, and designing or revising classroom and e-learning events. We may be making personal and professional resolutions for the new year. This is the perfect time of year to make some “sticky resolutions” to increase the transfer of training to the job. For your new year planning, I offer three suggestions:
- Conduct level 3 evaluation of one or a few programs. Evaluating on the job use of training can be tricky because it’s often hard to get reliable information about what people are doing on the job. A recent study of perceptions of training transfer (that is, surveys) indicated that trainees’ self-reports of how they use what they learned tend to be more optimistic than their managers’ perceptions. And interestingly, peers’ perceptions of how trainees use what they learned tended to be much more pessimistic than either the trainees’ or their managers’ perceptions. Conclusion: multiple perceptions are important to get an accurate picture of how training is being used on the job. Web tools such as Survey Money make surveying multiple perceptions relatively easy. A 3-5 question survey of trainees, their managers, and their peers could provide valuable information about what’s sticking – and what’s not.
- Develop, nurture, and strengthen relationships with the managers of the people being trained. Many trainers tend to whine that they don’t get support for training from managers. Yet study after study on training transfer underlines the critical role that the trainees’ manager plays in the transfer of learning to the job. We know that people tend to be influenced most by people they know and respect. How can you reach out to the managers of the people you train? How can you earn their respect? What are best strategies for influencing them? Do you know what their critical challenges are, right now? Do you really understand what it’s like to work in their department? In my 20+ years in corporate learning and development, I offer this: the power of lunch. Breaking bread with someone, 1 on 1 or 1 on 2, can build or cement a relationship better than almost anything else I’ve done. Consider developing a “lunch plan” targeting specific managers to have lunch with. Set a goal of a certain number of lunches (or coffee) per week or per month. ·
- Connect your organization’s business strategy to specific training. Include this information in the objectives and repeat it at various points in the training. Often the connection between the individual contributor level class on SAP, for example, may be obvious to you and to management, but is it obvious to them? Research has found that when the linkage is made clear between specific training and the organization’s key strategy, the training is more likely to stick. There is more specific information on linking strategy with training in my new book, Making Learning Stick.
Until next time…