We see it all the time. Companies invest large amounts of time and money into training courses to address a specific issue. It may be a problem they need to fix, a skill they want to develop, a team they want to bring together. They do the training, everyone leaves energised and ready to implement their new skills, and then nothing changes. The training manuals gather dust in a drawer and it's all forgotten about a few weeks later.
The truth of the matter is that no matter how good the training or trainer, simply being told or shown what to do over the course of a day or two will not lead to a longer term change in someone's behaviour or skills. Simple as that.
Don't believe me? Here's the science.
Our brains work through neural pathways - it's a typical stimulus response situation (think Pavlov's dogs). When we are used to a certain stimulus creating a particular response that then becomes programmed in our brain until we deprogramme it by creating different responses to the same stimulus.
Hearing something just once will fire off certain neural reactions in our brains and some of it may stick however it's repeated exposure and practice that will create new neural pathways (where our habits are formed) that will lead to genuine and lasting change.
For change of behaviour to be lasting or skills to be properly learned people need to be given the opportunity to:
Over a longer time period than the typical one or two days.
So to make sure your training doesn't go to waste it will help you as an employer to think of the training day as simply the first part of the learning and change process and be prepared to follow through with the other two parts of the process.
To help you bring this to life, here's some specific and clear things you can do ;
- Provide training that's well selected and relevant to the result you want to achieve. That means being crystal clear before you start the training what your outcome is and ensure your training provider knows it. (Learn)
- Know what you want people to do differently when they go. Then make that explicit to them too. (Learn)
- Have people jump straight into a project or give them other relevant opportunities to start using what they have learned. (Apply)
- Accept that getting it wrong will be part of the process and is a good thing. (Apply)
- Have a sponsor or particular person in the company who is responsible for making sure it happens. (Apply)
- Agree how you're going to implement and evaluate the change - i.e. monthly meetings, putting it into people's objectives for the year, whatever works for you. (Apply/Reflect)
- Hold short term and longer term debriefs with people at regular intervals following the training. (Reflect)
- For long term behavioural change consider using internal or external coaches to help the individual as they experiment with different ways of being until they master the skill. (Reflect)
They key to remember is that while the training itself is important (because otherwise how will they get the "learn"?) the classroom event is only the first part of a longer more considered journey to lasting change and improvement.
To discuss ways to get more return on your training and find out how we can support you with learning and improvement here at The People Person, please get in touch for a no obligation call and we will be delighted to help you out.