Do your training initiatives pass muster? Or, do you too often implement some new training program without, first, running it through a critical evaluation? If so, take the time to review the following examination questions that each of your training initiatives should pass before implementation. It will save you several headaches and it will save your company much time and money.

• Have your training initiatives been directly tied to your company’s business objectives? Be objective with your answers here as you always have two overriding goals: a) employees who can transfer the newly acquired knowledge into on-the-job application — AND — increased profitability for your company.

• Have you performed a “cost/benefit” analysis for each of your training programs and, if so, has each contributed positively to your organization’s bottom line? Communicate with the appropriate corporate executives to be certain that your “cost/benefit” yardsticks are in harmony with the corporate mission.

• Have you tailored your training to fill individual “knowledge gaps” or are you, mistakenly, providing the same training requirements for everyone in a specific job classification, paying no attention to their “existing knowledge” and, therefore, wasting time and money?

• Has your company successfully linked employee incentives to training outcomes? If not, communicate with your corporate executives in order to point out the markedly increased benefits of training when tied directly to employee incentives.

• Are your training programs effective in meeting present-day learning styles, particularly for those many individuals who do not comprehend above a 4th Grade reading level? Make certain that the programs you offer are video-based with optional full audio to give all your trainees an equal chance at learning and retention.

• Are you concentrating on delivering “performance based” training or is your training exclusively theoretical based? Being able to directly apply the learning you offer to on-the-job performance is your responsibility.

• Are you providing preemptive training or are you, mistakenly, limiting your solutions to reactive training? (Remember, it’s better to keep the horse in the barn than to spend time chasing after it.)

• Are you measuring long-term retention or simply confining your evaluations to post-tests taken immediately after the formal training is completed? (Longer term retention is the ultimate test of your training initiatives.) Testing, once again, about six months after initial training, will give you the answer

Only after getting positive answers to these eight questions will your training initiatives pass muster. Your company has invested money in the training process and it is one of your responsibilities to “prove” the worth of that investment. Positive answers to these eight questions will give you an evaluation your trainees (and, your company) have a right to expect — and will effectively contribute to the important values your organization requires.

More on Tuesday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder, ITC Learning