Could You Be Replaced By an App? – #4: The Dangerous Training Phrase You Should Stop Using Now

August 12, 2015

Last week, we explained how to keep the trust of your business stakeholders by translating the true needs behind training requests. This week, we discuss the importance of determining the best intervention for any given problem, and the roles of everyone involved.

The common, but dangerous, phrase training needs analysis is dangerous because it sets the expectation that the intervention will always be training. We prefer to say needs analysis, and to use it in the context of a broader initiative or solution.

Imagine if a civil engineer always prescribed a bridge as the best way to get from one point to another, never considering a tunnel or an alternate route. Not considering a better solution could result in a great waste of resources.

Imagine further if the civil engineer built a bridge but didn’t put up any signage letting drivers know that there was a bridge down the road, or where it would lead. There would be a lot of confusion.

Training professionals need to create a complete execution plan for initiatives, much as civil engineers do for construction projects. After completing the needs analysis, consider the best overall approach to solve the problem. Consider not just what training might be required (if any), but the roles of training participants, their supervisors and managers, and the training department, during the time before, during and after the intervention.

Agree on Level 3 critical behaviors for the training graduates and the required drivers that will support them. Critical behaviors are the few, specific actions which, if performed consistently on the job, will have the biggest impact on the desired results.

Required drivers are processes and systems that monitor, reinforce, encourage and reward performance of critical behaviors on the job. Required drivers include things like observing training graduate performance on the job, integrating rewards and recognitions with execution of critical behaviors, coaching, mentoring, job aids, refresher training, reminders and tracking systems.

A Level 3 plan is often missing from evaluation plans submitted to us for review, but Level 3 cannot be skipped. The degree to which required drivers are built into the plan and later executed directly impacts the degree to which the initiative will be successful. The more important the initiative, the greater the number of required drivers you should plan. 

The key to success with required drivers is working directly with the managers and supervisors during the planning stage to get their ideas as to which drivers will work best, and which they will support. You will need their active participation for a large initiative to be successful.

Agreeing up front on these roles and responsibilities will help to ensure that your training produces the expected on-the-job performance.

In next week’s quick tip, we will discuss how to build an explanation of the on-the-job support package into the training program itself so that participants know what assistance awaits them on the other side of the bridge.

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Additional Resources

Kirkpatrick® Strategic Evaluation Planning Certification Program

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