Recently, I wrote about the importance of tying training to specific company goals and functions. That in and of itself sounds like a complicated puzzle, but is it doable? Maybe yes, maybe no. According to a recent study conducted by Accenture, many of the survey respondents (senior executives) reported that their workers don´t have the necessary skills for their companies to succeed. This is fairly stunning. Indeed, only 20 percent of the respondents said that most of their employees understand the companies´ strategies and can identify what´s needed to succeed.
Accenture´s findings underscore the need for companies to open up about their strategies. Just as workers feel more valued when they know how their contributions affect the bottom line, letting them in on what the company is trying to achieve besides the obvious will add value as well. In other words, be inclusive whenever possible and take the time to explain the relationship between what they do and what the company is trying to do. But it´s more than talk, right? You have to make a commitment to creating training that supports their job functions.
And it can´t end there. You also need to be committed to testing the efficacy of that training. A lot of money is spent on corporate training and presumably those who participate are later surveyed on the effectiveness of the training. Then what? Are the numbers added up? Do people actually examine and evaluate the evaluations? Don´t companies want to know if they´ve made a sound investment before doing it all over again?
Here´s a question, something I started thinking about recently after talking with a woman at last Saturday´s Chicago Cubs game (they won, by the way). She conducts training for car companies and commented that her travels have taken her to various parts of the country and once she´s in a new location she tends to notice different sensibilities among the participants, differences that she needs to consider when doing the training. I wonder if there are some similarities insofar as adjustments are made according to whom you´re training. In other words, what if you have several different locations across the country? Not only will their general cultures be different according to certain geographic characteristics but work cultures are likely to vary as well. Do companies make adjustments for those variations when it comes to training? One of the problems cited in Accenture´s study is the inefficient capturing of knowledge. Respondents said that in addition to haphazard knowledge sharing the rewards for sharing are minimal. Maybe people outside of HR aren´t getting adequate training. I´m not sure. But it does sound dire, especially when you add the pending exit of millions of baby boomers in the next five years. Yes, it´s dizzying but needs to be addressed. I see an opportunity here. Do you?