Wednesday, 29 August 2018

The #1 Question to Ask When Considering a Training Initiative

I am sure we are all in agreement that your employees, your people, are the company's most important asset. Sadly many companies place a lot of emphasis on their recruitment and interview process, and the investment stops there. Most people are expected to just get on with it. Employees only meet expectations when they are clear about what's expected and connected to the short to medium-term goals for the company.

It is, of course, true that some companies are very passionate about people development and training but get they tend to get lost in a sea of training content that managers subjectively believe their teams need to be trained on. Without focus, a quantifiable case study of why the training is mission critical right now, defined time frameworks and evident ROI's, the senior management team are not likely to sign off on any training plans anytime soon.

While training initiatives may ultimately contribute to a company's long-term success, which of them are critical to the short to medium term goals of the company.

Go through the proposed training plans and identify the ones that you believe will grow the knowledge with the power to make or break your company right now. 

Is the proposed initiative a nice to have or is it aligned with the goals and objectives the company has set for the next 3-12 months?

How critical is this training initiative for your company's success in the next 3-12 months? According to an interesting Randstad Survey, many employees are aware they need upskilling, but they are frankly not taking ownership of this. The survey reveals over a third of U.S employees have done nothing to upskill in the last 12 months, even though they knew it was important. The reasons survey respondents gave for not charging ahead with their own upskilling was as follows: 67 percent of U.S. employees say they feel they need more training and skills to stay up-to-date. Nearly 40 percent of U.S. employees say their employers have not offered and paid for anything related to upskilling. 40 percent of U.S. employees say they wouldn’t arrange for and pay out of their own pockets to upskill themselves. I would agree that employees need to take personal responsibility for their own upskilling but that employers must take more interest in enabling and encouraging them to do so.

Another insightful article worth a read is from the Harvard Review focusing on the fact that managers are not doing enough to upskill their employees for the future. This article advocates employees being invited to contribute to the process of identifying the knowledge, skills, and abilities they’ll need in the short and long run.

I would agree with a more collaborative approach, but this must always be underpinned with good objective data as employees opinions might not be precise. What we think we know and need, is sometimes very different, from our actual knowledge or what the business critically needs right now.

One such enabling tool is Degreed. Degreed is an education technology company that is engaged in enabling and recognizing professional and lifelong learning and skills. The platform allows users to learn, develop and measure their skills. Degreed is free for individuals. An enhanced version, Degreed for Enterprise, connects internal learning and talent systems to global ecosystems of free, open and paid learning resources, and is available to organizations for a fee as a hosted cloud-based solution. I recently analyzed how KnowledgeSmart background and results data could integrate with solutions like Degreed, and it was an insightful exercise.

KnowledgeSmart also recently announced a new integration with Pinnacle Series. The integration between Pinnacle Series and KnowledgeSmart allows users to evaluate their skills and have a personalized learning path assigned to expand their knowledge. Identify skills gaps and work to close them with courses specifically designed for an individual's needs.

These type of tools can help empower companies to enable their teams to upskill while being able to report useful business metrics to justify budget spend and contribute to other strategic areas beyond training and development such as project resource management and future recruitment for example.

Let's circle back to that number one question you should ask when considering a training initiative.
How critical is this training initiative for your company's success in the next 3-12 months? If the answer is not a resounding yes then it is time to reconsider and befriend the KnowledgeSmart data query tool.


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