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Progress comes from the intelligent use of experience. Elbert Hubbard

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From training to action

From training to action

Despite investing heavily in training, companies are often disappointed with the results. How to ensure that people make changes in their everyday work as a result of the training they receive?

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Companies invest a great deal in training—nearly $100 billion are spent each year on the continuing education of employees across the globe! In fact, businesses share the unanimous conviction that training is not only needed to keep people up to speed on technology, but also essential to optimize the performance of the organization. This is why no fewer than 40 percent of companies maintained or even increased their training budget in 2009, when the recession was at its worst.

Paradoxically, training is seldom managed as a strategic investment. A 2010 McKinsey study of 1,440 leaders across the globe shows that barely a third of business organizations measure the impact of training on performance. What is more, although 90 percent of these leaders consider skill development to be among the top ten priorities of their organization, less than a quarter feels that training programs have a major effect on business results.

Indeed, training seminars are often observed to have little practical effect after the fact. That being said, satisfaction surveys produce excellent scores, with often more than 80 percent of participants “satisfied” or “very satisfied.” But they frequently don’t actually implement the skills they learn at these training programs. Back at the office, their old habits quickly resurface as they face day-to-day operational priorities. The McKinsey Quarterly article “Getting More From Your Training Programs” cites the example of a biotech firm that trained every one of its managers in performance management techniques. Two years later, nothing had changed. Most employees still did not have job descriptions. Performance assessments still did not take place. And in the meantime, the managers had forgotten all they had learned. This company is far from unusual.

The experts stress that the most effective training directly concerns the operational realities of participants. Indeed, people tend to keep a more open mind about learning and rapidly try out new skills they learn when they clearly see the practical benefits of doing so.
Companies invest a great deal in training—nearly $100 billion are spent each year on the continuing education of employees across the globe! In fact, businesses share the unanimous conviction that training is not only needed to keep people up to speed on technology, but also essential to optimize the performance of the organization. This is why no fewer than 40 percent of companies maintained or even increased their training budget in 2009, when the recession was at its worst.

Paradoxically, training is seldom managed as a strategic investment. A 2010 McKinsey study of 1,440 leaders across the globe shows that barely a third of business organizations measure the impact of training on performance. What is more, although 90 percent of these leaders consider skill development to be among the top ten priorities of their organization, less than a quarter feels that training programs have a major effect on business results.

Indeed, training seminars are often observed to have little practical effect after the fact. That being said, satisfaction surveys produce excellent scores, with often more than 80 percent of participants “satisfied” or “very satisfied.” But they frequently don’t actually implement the skills they learn at these training programs. Back at the office, their old habits quickly resurface as they face day-to-day operational priorities. The McKinsey Quarterly article “Getting More From Your Training Programs” cites the example of a biotech firm that trained every one of its managers in performance management techniques. Two years later, nothing had changed. Most employees still did not have job descriptions. Performance assessments still did not take place. And in the meantime, the managers had forgotten all they had learned. This company is far from unusual.

The experts stress that the most effective training directly concerns the operational realities of participants. Indeed, people tend to keep a more open mind about learning and rapidly try out new skills they learn when they clearly see the practical benefits of doing so.

Synopsis n.200b


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