Most businesses these days are quite smart in investing time and effort into ensuring production or operation processes are efficient within a continuous improvement cycle because the business will fail without it.  What about training then, surely, I’d be right in thinking it would be treated in the same way, yes?  Well, the truth is normally it’s not, no!

Why then is this? Surely training, being at the heart of ensuring right from the start of any employment the people within our business are productive and efficient should be given top priority?  I often find when I get to speak to people involved in both management and other roles within an organisation, the training function is diluted to be wrapped in with HR or given as a part-time role to one or sometimes many people as an extreme.  When this happens, the training system (as a whole) is often more about making the training and delivering it over and over, (a little like a sausage factory).  Let’s use that lovely analogy of a sausage factory as an example; let’s say we make those sausages efficiently and at a high price but unknown to us, people start to think they’re becoming too salty and begin to stop buying them.  No one tells us on the factory floor, so we carry on making those salty sausages; meanwhile, it starts to get noticed after a while so then someone has the bright idea of finding out why no-one is buying them anymore.  By this time, we have thousands of sausages that no-one will buy, so they’re thrown away in the bin costing the business £££.  How could this have been avoided?

Let’s bring the focus back into training then; what I’m saying is that in most cases, training is delivered over and over and over with little feedback given regarding how it is fit for purpose enabling the person to do what the business wants them to. Some people say to me there’s feedback at the point of delivery as to how the training was on the day of delivery which is excellent when it is appropriately done but even then, it can be very hit and miss.  I often get told “We get the people to fill in a form, and then it’s sent to HR” to which I ask, “What happens after that, do you ever get anything back from HR?” to which the reply is generally, “No, we think it gets filed”.  What a waste of everyone’s time, so why bother?  If you’re going to get feedback, then this needs to be appropriately analysed and fed back in for improvement.  The next part though is the one that most commonly gets missed; if no-one ever asks if the training was of use in the workplace, then how are you going to know what is being trained is current and fit for purpose?  This is when we continue to produce those salty sausages; you’ll hear people say, “You know that training you’ve just had, well forget all that we don’t do it like that anymore, we do it like this!”  Every piece of training delivered must be evaluated after around 3-6 months to check if it enabled them to do what they needed to do.  It’s also best practice to ask their supervisor or line manager the same as they’re in a great position to tell you if it worked and if not, show you how it could potentially be done better!  Do this with your training and see how it starts to affect morale, productivity, efficiency and safety.

Scott Fraser is a Master Trainer at Target Training and delivers our PTT Train the Trainer courses and our Advanced PTT Train the Trainer courses.  You can read more about him here.