Education Current Events

How to Boost Your Training Effectiveness

What is your reaction to a headline that reads “Quarter of all training fails to deliver significant performance improvement?”
My guess is it would be one of amazement. However, I am not so confident I could predict why. Are you amazed that as much as “a quarter” of all training is effectively wasted? Or are you amazed that it is only “a quarter” – i.e. as little as 25%?
How much training is really wasted?
I confess that I fall into the latter camp. Thus I would have said it was more likely to be the other way round. In other words training is closer to being only 25% effective and 75% wasted; although that isn’t to say the figures are quite as bad as that. Nor am I maligning the quality of trainers here. Rather it is simply a fact of life, for, when we get back into routine we simply revert to old ways. It is practice that embeds knowledge and if people do not get the opportunity to practice what they learn on training courses when they get back to work, it is inevitable that the benefits of the training will dissipate.
(I should also make it clear that I am talking here about formal work-related training only and not all education.)
My opinion that training is considerably more than 25% ineffective, may have its origins in the harsh reality that I am a bit slow! However, although clearly subjective, I formed it as much by observing others as from my own experience over nearly 30 years. I find it fascinating to observe how quickly we forget lessons and fall back into our old ways. It’s rather like New Year Resolutions. No matter how good our intentions, we fall short.
The costs are the real issue
So regardless of the percentage, there is a problem. The headline, from HR Magazine, was for real! And even more disturbing is that the report states this 25% ‘failure’ costs £9.5 billion a year, which is a steep price to pay for nothing. And if you share my more skeptical view, then these costs are likely to be considerably greater. This makes proposals to make regular training an employee’s legal right a real concern. It is dangerous for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it makes training more of a fixed cost, rather than a variable one. One of the (possibly many) reasons the UK government is proposing this, is that training is one of the first items dispensed with in recessionary times. Whatever the justification for this (and we will look at this question more closely further on) it will mean that businesses will need to look elsewhere and dig deeper to find cost savings in any future recession. This makes it likely that more people will lose their jobs than would otherwise be the case. It is thus hardly a good solution to the employee engagement problem that is currently causing so much concern.
Secondly, it reduces the likelihood of proper cost-benefit justification for training. And cost-benefit justification for training is already weak. Certainly you spend a great deal of effort on the cost side of the equation. No-one can undergo training unless there is a budget and/or the costs are pre-approved. But nothing like the same attention is given to the benefit side.
Ah, yes, you do devote effort to assessing needs through formal training needs analyses, and you could argue this equates to benefit analysis. However this ignores the obvious point that satisfying needs, and delivering benefits, is not the same thing. This point is reinforced by the earlier point about training being the first expense cut during tough trading times. This suggests that the benefits are not really factored into the equation.
The case for this is reinforced by two points: the value of the waste as described by the article, and the lack of any proper training effectiveness analysis. Training is an investment. Yet the lack of effectiveness measurement suggests this is not fully recognised. The fact is that a large proportion of this training waste can be avoided. All it requires is more emphasis on measuring the benefits – the return on investment.
Now you may argue that this is fine in theory but in practice measuring this is too difficult, time-consuming and costly, and so would make the problem worse. You might even claim that some of the benefits are intangible anyway in so far as they simply improve employee engagement. Perhaps, but the point is not worth arguing about.
How to effectively measure the return on training investment
Certainly it is not easy, and it would be disingenuous to say it was. But, if people are valued as assets and their training costs, or a portion of them, are capitalised and added to their individual asset value, then you would have a basis for more effective negotiation between manager and employee to justify the training as well as a measure of gauging its effectiveness. The net change in bottom line over the gross increase in Human Asset Value, gives you a perfectly empirical formula for calculating the return on investment. It may not be perfect, but it is at least as good if not better than anything we currently have.
Whatever the waste percentage, this formula certainly gives you a lever for eliminating a large chunk of it. Furthermore, as the rules need to be properly defined and agreed, it is not subjective and so cannot be easily manipulated. This will help build up trust and teamwork within the organisation. It will also encourage practice and so help to embed the knowledge. And, even better, it also provides a communication bridge for HR and Finance. Now, for the first time right brain (HR) and left brain (Finance) dominated people will be to communicate effectively. That has to be good news and great for business.

Public Education

Electrical and Plumbing Skills – Progressive Training With Integrity!

The Construction Trade is estimated to be worth in excess of A� 110 billion and employs 1.5 million! The industry involves a wide range of high technical key skills such as electrical and plumbing to bricklaying, plastering, tiling, carpentry and joinery.
Good quality trade companies and employers always look to recruit fully trained and competent personnel with recognised qualifications who are prepared to honour codes of responsible, professional standards.
Compliance with laws, regulations, standards and codes to safeguard the environment, public health and safety, combined with the desire to constantly broaden, improve and maintain skills, knowledge and personal qualities are the distinguishing traits of both work and service excellence.
Personal qualities of integrity and workmanship are acquired as part of learning your trade in a corresponding professional training environment. An experienced and expert tutor will naturally transfer their own standards of required adherence to quality standards of workmanship, which hold good for your entire working life, not just for passing course assessments to obtain qualifications!
Most trades currently require an NVQ at Level 2 or 3 to be classed as qualified. For those wishing to become an electrician, the City & Guilds 2330 Level 2 is the recognised entry point and for those looking to become a plumber, then the City & Guilds Plumbing 6129 Technical Certificate is the course to commence the necessary foundation knowledge.
An NVQ knowledge training takes time to achieve, using a combination of off-the-job training with a training provider and working with an employer in the sector. Remember – ‘quickie’ courses aimed at the DIY market may be useful for background or the most basic skills, but hardly prepare someone to become a skilled trades person.
At an approved and accredited trade skills training centre, a tailored knowledge learning path can been developed as a structured series of courses, which can be followed to naturally take an entry level student right through all the necessary training and qualifications to be ready to enter the industry at a very high level.
This can favourably put a student, who has undertaken and qualified at each step of the related course ladder, at an advantage in the employment application process.
Employers look for at least basic practical skills and essential knowledge gained from a respected City & Guilds qualification or foundation award so that they can at least put the apprentice to work alongside more experienced and qualified people. In addition, they will encourage beginners to further their knowledge and work towards an NVQ.
With industry recognised training you will have already attained the necessary qualifications to impress at interview and parachute you into your chosen job destination!

Primary Education

Computer Training Skill – Important in Today’s Market?

Today, finding an office, business or any place of employment that does not use computers is equal to finding a needle in a haystack. The world has come to rely on them so much that, you simply cannot get by without PC knowledge. For this reason, many people seek at least basic PC knowledge and therefore PC training jobs have become more and more popular all over the United States.
Many companies rely heavily on computers for their business transactions. This makes it essential for its employees to be computer literate. In such companies, there are vacancies for IT training jobs. People who hold computer training jobs in such companies are required to train the employees in computer applications that help in day to day work of the company. They are also responsible for keeping the employees up to date with latest computer applications. PC trainers who work for companies usually get good pay.
If you have IT knowledge, a computer training job can be an easy way of earning a few extra dollars. You can get part time PC training jobs at various institutes to suit your timetable. If you are not so up to date with your computer knowledge, but are business oriented, you can start your own computer training institute. You could hire people with the necessary qualifications for computer training jobs.
There are a large number of institutes, all over United States, that offer IT training to various groups of people. PC training jobs are available in all these institutes. At an institute that provides computer training, a computer trainer has to cater to people of all ages. It is necessary that computer trainers are able to train all these people according to their level of understanding. Youngsters maybe fast learners while adults might not be very comfortable with technology. But it is the job of the computer trainer to make sure that his student understand what he teaches and enjoy it. IT training jobs require reserves of patience, hard work and compromise.
Computer training jobs require certain qualifications. Usually a degree in a relevant computer field is adequate. But some employers seek previous job experience as well. There are also special diplomas for people who wish to teach IT. These teachers’ diplomas in computer training are designed especially to cater to the needs of computer trainers. It is important to get your computer certification from a good institute. It is indeed a waste if you spend money and time on your studies if it cannot get you a decent job.

Education For All

Sales Training Mistakes – Only Teaching Product Knowledge

When my son was young, he was fascinated by sports cars. Like a lot of boys his age, he liked to look at the models of the shiniest ones in the toy store, or point them out when we would see one on the street. Over time, he started to pick up assorted facts and statistics: this one went from zero to sixty miles an hour in so many seconds, another one had an engine with this many horsepower, and so on.

Now here’s a question for you: How successful do you think my young son would have been at selling sports cars at that age?

The obvious answer is that he wouldn’t have been able to do that job – children are usually better in the door-to-door cookie and candy type industries – but the truth is that he was almost as qualified as many salespeople that some big companies send out into the field. Granted, he didn’t know anything about sales, but he sure had plenty of “product knowledge.”

And that, of course, is the problem I want to highlight here. To many sales managers, training consists largely of getting the sales staff together in a room and forcing them to memorize marketing brochures and technical specifications. So long as the sales team knows all about the great things the company sells, and can explain all the ins and outs, the rest will take care of itself – or so the thinking goes.

Those of us who have worked as professional salespeople for a while know better. Being able to explain specific features is important, but it’s not nearly as critical as understanding the sales process, knowing how to read and react to different buying personality styles, and qualify potential customers. In fact, I would go as far as to say that product knowledge accounts for only about a third of a salesperson’s success – and sometimes even less.

Besides, product knowledge is more about memorization than it is skill. For that reason, it makes sense to do it in smaller increments, like morning or weekly meetings, rather than all at once in a sales training session. We all know the feeling of being overwhelmed by too much information, so don’t try to cram too many facts and details into your producer’s minds at once.

Key Sales Management Point:

Try to integrate the facts and details of what your company sells into regular sales meetings.

Use your training time to teach skills that will help your staff turn what they know into sales.

Product knowledge is critical to sales success, but sales skills are more important.