Training: Why some programmes miss the mark

One of the mortal sins in learning and development in organisations is the lack of having a training needs analysis.

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The Chief Finance Officer asks what if we train them and they leave? Then the CEO retorts, 'What if we don’t train them and they stay?' That is content from a meme that does rounds in HR. platforms. It is even found in training sessions. Is training an expense or an investment? Does training bring return on investment? Learning and development is very essential for organisational productivity, profitability, repositioning and brand management.

One of the mortal sins in learning and development in organisations is the lack of having a training needs analysis. What are the dangers of not creating a training needs analysis tool? The lack of a well-designed training needs analysis will lead to the wastage of resources because the organisation's needs will not be addressed.

Money will be spent to pay the trainers, for food, training materials and the venue. It is important for the human resource professionals and the head of the department to come up with the gaps assessment so that training can be designed around that.

Lack of clear objectives is another avenue through which learning and development initiatives flounder. The fundamental question is, what will the training achieve? What is the training trying to cure? Without clarified objectives, it will be akin to looking for a black cat in a dark room. This is a waste of time and resources.

Generating the learning objectives of the training will lead to a productive design of content. Having clear objectives will motivate participants to contribute and also attain the requisite skills and attitudes. Having crystal clear goals will help in aligning the training goals to the overarching organisation goals.

Ineffective delivery methods can also hinder the achievement of the reasons for the training. Result oriented training must have the requisite training delivery methods. Once the training needs have been discovered, it is important to ask what are the delivery methods? There are a host of delivery methods that can be researched.

Insufficient resources can completely hinder the execution of training activities. This is where the company doesn’t have enough money to get good trainers and venues. Sometimes organisations can have enough money and yet dedicate a paltry amount to training.

Lack of management support can also be picked as the leading cause of poor outcomes in learning and development. This is where the management perceives training as an expense that should be avoided at all costs. Management support is one of the keystones of proper implementation of the training gaps.

If the culture is unsupportive then the objectives won’t hit the bull’s eye. This means that the organisation won’t be competitive, it means that the organisation will not be producing quality products or services, and it also means that the organisation will experience high attrition rates.

Resistance to change is another reason. Some learners and organisations will refuse to transform after the acquisition of knowledge.

An finally, there is the issue of limited opportunities for practice and application. We all say that knowledge is power but it is important to amplify it with a rider that says it is only knowledge that is applied that becomes powerful. If there is no enthusiasm to consistently implement the nuggets gained then the training would have been a waste of resources.

I am thinking of the Kirkpatrick model of assessing training outcomes. What were the reactions of the learners? Was there learning involved? Was there a behavior change? What were the results of the learning sessions?

Magoma is an award-winning HR, trainer, and conference speaker. Email: [email protected].

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Note: The results are not exact but very close to the actual.