Workforce.com

<i>Dear Workforce </i> How Do We Select a Training Team

January 21, 2009
Dear At a Loss:

Training can be the bridge to world-class business results, especially during recession. Your training team needs a clear "line of sight" between training goals and business goals. Other considerations:

Be inclusive
A training program typically focuses on a variety of skills in technical areas, leadership development, sales enhancement and/or management. Some training programs have multiple tracks, while others focus on a single track, such as improving the performance of salespeople. If this is the case, the training team must have sales leaders who have "been there, done that" to guide development of courses and programs. It is equally important to include human resources professionals, especially those familiar with training disciplines.

In addition, having a senior executive on the training team demonstrates its importance and value. Finally, don't forget to include any external partners that might be appropriate.

If the training program has multiple tracks beyond sales, it is essential to include additional experts. This could include people in marketing, information technology, finance, purchasing, and other groups.

Have a training game plan
It should include at least the following elements: mission, goals, alignment with business enterprise and culture, core competency assessment, internal versus external courses, blended learning, stretch assignments, principles for adult learning, individual versus group development plans, and face-to-face versus online courses. It typically takes six months to a year to get a quality training program up and running.

Set things in motion
As you begin putting the pieces in place, your training team will operate largely as an advisory body to human resources, especially in technical and subject-specific areas. In the beginning, your team should meet at least once a month, moving to a quarterly basis as the program develops. Make certain the team zeroes in on the competencies that your company deems pivotal to achieving its goals.

Monitor your progress
Don't forget to have the training team closely examine the results. If training is for salespeople, this means examining participants' course evaluations and their actual performance in the field. That will give you an idea of how people feel about the course topic, instructors, and other important areas. It also provides insight on ways you can improve things.

Don't let up
The Japanese have a word for continuous improvement: kaizen. Again, this ties into the concept of consistently examining the outcome of your training efforts. Remember, a training program is only as good as the ability of your training team to provide leadership and guidance. That means the team must be nimble enough to make adjustments when needed.

An engaged and motivated training team isn't easy to create, but the results are worth it. Bringing together committed individuals from various employee groups should help individuals grow professionally, helping to move your organization from being "just OK" to being great.

SOURCE: Dana E. Jarvis is an adjunct professor of business ethics and management at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.

LEARN MORE: On a related note, planning a curriculum to help people develop professionally also might be a consideration.

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.


Ask a Question
Dear Workforce Newsletter