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i Dear Workforce-i What Steps Should We Take To Develop a Training Function

Establish a network; align it with the business strategy; create early wins; invest in it; assess the impact.
December 21, 2002
Related Topics: Basic Skills Training, HR Services and Administration, Behavioral Training, Dear Workforce

Dear Clues:

There are several recommended steps to developing an internal trainingfunction.

1) Establish a Network

The network should include:

Sponsors: A new training function will need sponsorship and support by thehighest level in the organization. A sponsor provides resources, smoothes theway, and sets the target for a newly established training function.

Functional managers: In many organizations, the development of curriculum ismanaged centrally and the delivery of training is done locally with the help andsupport of people reporting to functional managers. Successfulorganizational-performance support through training requires cooperation acrossorganizational structures both in identifying needs and delivering the training.

Other stakeholders: Employees (job, task, and need analysis), HR(orientation, employee data and survey), and customers (that’s whereultimately the value is.)

2) Align Training Strategy with Business Strategy

U.S. corporations on average spend about 2 percent of sales on training anddevelopment. A strategic training and development function provides asignificant return over and above that figure by aligning training investmentswith an organization’s business strategy. Establish a clear "line of sight"on the constraints to achieving business goals, and then determine which ofthose constraints can be addressed through training and development. Focus earlytraining efforts on those behaviors most necessary to accomplish current goals.The steps for aligning training strategy with business strategy include:

· Determine how your organization creates unique value

· Identify the employee talent pools and the behaviors of people in thosepools that have the most significant impact on that value

· Develop a training strategy that supports the development of these peopleand the needed behaviors

3) Create Early Wins

Optimize informal on-the-job learning (structured and unstructured) as asignificant organizational system. According to a book called The LearningEnterprise, "Research suggests that fully 80 percent of an employee’s jobknowledge and skills will be learned through informal on-the-job training andthat up to one-third of an employee’s first year salary is devoted toon-the-job training costs."

Somewhat counter-intuitively, in the early stages, a developing trainingfunction can have the most impact by enhancing and improving the efficiency ofthe more informal on-the-job training. Some methods to support effectiveon-the-job training include the development of job aides, formal recognition,and training checklists.

4) Invest In Formal Development and Coaching

· Develop focused off-the-job training for pivotal roles. On-the-jobtraining cannot substitute completely for well-designed and executed trainingprovided to learners at the right time. Formal training encompasses bothtechnical and "soft-skill" programs delivered in a classroom, on the Web, orvia computer-based training. The options have never been more varied.

· Provide follow-on support and coaching to enhance the effectiveness offormal learning. Research shows that combining training with follow-up coachingto ensure the application of the new knowledge and skills is more effective thantraining alone.

5) Assess Impact and Report Results to Stakeholders

The development of a formal training function is as much a social challengeas a business one. The challenge facing a manager in the pioneering role is tocreate trust and demonstrate value. Implement assessment processes thatillustrate the link between training and the creation of business value. Reportearly and often.

SOURCE: Cori Hill, consultant, Personnel Decisions International (PDI),Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 27, 2002.

LEARN MORE: Read Training Proves Its Worth.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide usefulinformation on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice ora legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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Dear Workforce Newsletter


 The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

If you have any questions or concerns about, please email or call 312-676-9900.

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