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Making training work

The Accenture High Performance Workforce Study came up with some fairly miserable results when it comes to the effectiveness of training. The need for training is screamingly obvious in the results: Even what they considered critical functions, such as sales and customer service, were not performing up to snuff. According to this article on ZDNet, a lot of the problem boils down to training issues:

    just one in ten respondents reported being very satisfied with the performance of his or her human resources (HR) and training functions (11 percent and 10 percent, respectively).

The first reason for this they list is "A lack of connection to business drivers--Only 36 percent of respondents said their companies tailor their HR and training support to each function’s needs and contributions to the organization."

No wonder it isn't working. A generic one-size-fits-all training program isn't going to do much for anyone. I recently heard a rationale for this approach: That the company wants to ensure that everyone hears a consistent message. Fair enough. But if the training doesn't pertain to what you do specifically, is it going to be effective? I doubt it. Sure, it's important for all employees to know that customer service is important. But what customer service means to someone in accounts payable is going to be quite different than what it means to someone on a factory floor, or in the executive suite, or in the sales force. Generics can be great money-savers when it comes to pharmaceuticals, but training? I don't think so.

The article also mentions a lack of measuring the return on investment for training sessions as an issue. Since these were top execs who were surveyed, expect the ROI push to continue, like it or not, at least when it comes to training.

Anyway, for some interesting ideas on ways to make virtual training more effective, check out this post on the ConferBlog about how injecting a little virtual reality can make training more effective. It's good stuff.

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