Holiday decorations are coming down or soon will, and the backlog of work is or soon will be cleared of things that didn’t get done due to Holiday time off. It’s time for most of us to plan for the coming year: training calendar offerings, program roll-outs, designing and/or revising classes. As you reflect on the previous year and on the year ahead, I invite you to consider the following:
· How does senior leadership in your organization view learning and development? What is success, to them? Several months ago I shared results of a survey of 96 CEOs. They reported that what is most important to them, in relation to learning and development, is training that drives business goals and results.
· What are the most important challenges and results in your organization? Which of your offerings are most important to drive these challenges and results? How can you communicate and make this link clear(er) to participants in your training? So often what may be obvious to us, is not so obvious to the guy or gal sitting in the classroom or participating in e-learning.
· What strategies and techniques are you and others using to make learning transfer to the job? How do you know they’re working? What new strategies and techniques can be added, to increase transfer? How can you add level 3 evaluation in addition to, or instead of, current (most likely level 1) evaluation practices?
· How do supervisors and managers in your organization view training? How do they support it? Are they aware of their role in making learning stick? I devoted a Sticky Note to this topic a couple of years ago. How can you reach out to the bosses to strengthen this very important link?
Meaty questions, aren’t they? As further food for thought, I offer the following specific suggestions:
1. Start a lunch, coffee-and-bagels, or webinar series for managers and supervisors. Use the time to share key learning points and training content with them. Discuss 1-2 specific things they can do (an email after training or assignment linked to new learning, for examples) to help participants practice what they learn. Listen to their key challenges and goals.
2. Choose one (or one more) training or coaching program and do a simple, 3 question level 3 evaluation.
3. Add 2-3 new slides or screens to an existing training program that highlight the current organizational strategy and/or challenges, and how the learning in this program – skills, knowledge, awareness – supports them.
4. Plan to read at least one new book and attend at least one workshop, presentation, or conference this year to help you “sharpen your saw”. There are many good resources out there. If you haven’t already, read one or more of my books on training transfer: Making Learning Stick, Making Training Stick, and Making Training Stick: A Training Transfer Field Guide . They are chock full of easy-to-use, inexpensive techniques to increase the transfer of your training.
Remember the old adage, “if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” Make plans and take action for better transfer of your training this year!
Until next time….