Tag Archives: Training

How to Achieve Disruptive Training and Development

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How effective is your training and development initiative? I have led and participated in training and development initiatives where the results in the classroom are great. The class is motivated, excited about the new tools and concepts, course ratings are high and everyone feels really good. When the class participants return to their work, they may try a few of the new techniques, but soon it’s business as usual. Has this ever happened to you?

Think online learning is the better approach? Businesses can agonize over finding the right online program, roll it out and require that each team member complete the course. The online course system will report on course completion compliance. Unfortunately, most people have busy schedules and cram multiple modules into a short timeframe near the deadline for completion. Some extend the course over a longer time, failing to absorb the concepts because too much time has passed between sessions. The result is the same for both types of course-takers, the learning is not embedded and the new skills are not utilized.

Face it, it’s easy to spend training budget on courses, check the box for the task “deliver training”, then deliver poor to mediocre performance appraisals to employees because there’s little application of new skills in their job. The employee must be the problem, right? Wrong!

What’s the solution? Training supported by active project-based coaching. Here are two examples of disruptive T&D that continues to deliver high performance and results.

Case 1: A global conglomerate needed cost and value improvement by enhancing tactical and strategic procurement skills. While the initial overall program components are not unusual—HR, procurement team and internal corporate university works with outside firm to roll-out competency assessment, online learning and instructor-led classroom training—it’s the implementation of a requirement to complete an action plan for an expenditure category in their portfolio over the 6 months following the classroom with coaching/mentoring available by the course instructors and the individual’s supervisor during this time. Actions plans had to be approved by the instructor and the supervisor.

The results were astounding! The documented return on investment from the training delivered $40 for every $1 invested in the program. Besides the $millions in savings and the value from innovation and other improvement, the learning was embedded and skillsets enhanced.

Case 2: A medium-sized company with 4 divisions was unable to get collaboration, leverage and synergy. The project focused on small category teams comprised of members from each business unit. A four-day workshop was delivered, during which tools and concepts were introduced, the teams selected projects, identified opportunities, built initial strategies and presented them to senior management. After the workshop, the teams launched with weekly conference calls with mentoring and coaching. The teams presented monthly updates to senior management. At the end of the 6 months, the supply base was optimized and $64 million in cost and value improvements were achieved.

Most companies are reluctant to engage in programs like these because of complexity and the additional cost of engaging an instructor or coach for longer than a 2-day course delivery. The right training provider can manage the complexity and offer a coaching program on a per person or monthly fee option that works for your budget and delivers the breakthrough you need.

5 Ways to Embed Learning

  1. Establish course completion timelines for online courses: use an outsourced provider to work with individuals, chart progress and report status
  2. Require a pre-requisite online course before delivery of a classroom course or workshop to orient participants so class time learning is optimized
  3. Include a work project in the training
    1. Alert the participants ahead of the training
    2. Allow class time to get the project started
  4. Provide coaching and mentoring post training by the training provider, internal resource or both.
  5. Launch category management teams with
    1. Kick-off workshop
    2. Weekly coaching
    3. Project management

Ready to disrupt your training initiatives?

Don’t dominate, collaborate

As companies bring smart purchasing strategies to new categories of spend, there is a danger for procurement professionals who are too eager to prove their worth. While management in production or engineering may have become familiar with cross-functional teams addressing a sourcing issue, marketers and other owners of indirect spend often have had very little experience working with procurement professionals except at the administrative level. They are likely to view any involvement as an intrusion into their professional relationships.

Good guidance for procurement staff is to approach those situations with a goal to collaborate, not dominate. Look for small successes to build trust, not home runs in the first few innings. Fred Parkinson wrote a nice piece about engaging stakeholders for our eBulletin last summer.  Click here to read it.