We have all heard the saying “Knowledge is power,” but at times we become lazy and forget the power of learning. Most of us start out at a new job eager to learn the ins and outs of our new employer. In the initial training and development program, we tend to be more tentative and receptive of the information we are being provided.
But as with anything new and exciting, the novelty of it soon wears off. Flash-forward a few years and you will see once bright-eyed and bushytailed employee groaning at the mere thought of employee development and training sessions. This kind of evolution in an employee’s outlook on training and development programs can really hinder the productivity level in an organization. It is a manager’s responsibility to ensure that the skills employees learn in training will be applied effectively to ensure professional on-the-job behavior.
Many companies don’t offer professional training opportunities for their staff. And those that do likely cut back on those programs during the downturn. If your company is among those investing in training and development, then management surely wants to know that their investment will pay off. And employees fortunate enough to receive training should take full advantage of it.
The most successful training is measured by how the participants apply their newly learned skills when they return to work. Although training technologies have been effective in improving skills learned in training, the skills actually implemented on the job have been disappointingly few.
To ensure that trainees apply new skills on the job, both managers and trainers must enforce these learned skills before, during, and after training. In doing so, managers will ensure that the proper skills are in place.
To successfully change on-the-job behavior, managers and trainers must address three essential issues prior to training:
1. Identify training needs
Before training begins, managers should identify the skills that are most pertinent to the employees’ specific challenges and success. Skills that don’t substantially impact their jobs can be addressed at a later time. Improving or enhancing an employee’s professional, on-the-job behavior, knowledge, and skills should be the primary objective when identifying training needs.
2. Ensure that management is prepared to support use of the new skills on the job
Management will lend its support only if it sees that the proposed training will produce valuable benefits. Through effective training, the payoff can increase revenue, improve market penetration, and increase the commitment of the professional. In each case, management must recognize value before supporting an investment in training. Managers must also decide if they are willing to provide the required time, money, and support necessary to the success of the training endeavor.
3. Trainers and managers must understand trainees’ key job-match characteristics
When they know that the skills they are learning can be applied immediately, people are more motivated to learn. Trainees will be more interested in learning a skill that is applicable to a daily task rather than a broad topic (such as effective listening) because the former solves a specific issue they face constantly.
Training provides skills, information, and the potential for successful application on the job. The implementation of those learned skills to on-the-job situations reveals the success of the training. Reinforcement of the use of skills on the job determines whether or not the acquired skills will be used in the future.
The key to applying skills acquired in training to the job is the reinforcement and coaching provided by the manager. To change behaviors, one needs a good training program, a desire to learn, transfer of skills to the job by the participant, and professional on-the-job behavior reinforcement and reward by the coaches.