Last week, I wrote about your critical importance to your organization. I wrote:

“If you work in a facility that is part of a large corporation, the workers at your site need you more than they ever have! . . . Because you have knowledge of the procedures necessary to your plant’s operations and you have knowledge of the training gaps that exist within your facility.”

The other side of that coin requires you to look — critically and honestly — at your actual performance as trainer.

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.

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

b) 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.

c) 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?

d) 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.

e) 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 both hands-on and video-based, with optional full audio, to give all your trainees an equal chance at learning and retention.

f) 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.

g) 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.)

h) 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 should be the ultimate test of your training initiatives.) In addition to evaluations made by the trainee’s immediate supervisor, a repeat test, about six months after initial training, will give you that 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 that your trainees (and, your company) have a right to expect — and will effectively contribute to the important values your organization requires.

Yes! — the employees at your site need your training skills and experience more than they ever have! But — you also have the responsibility of making certain that the training initiatives you initiate obtain the results your company and your trainees require!

More on Thursday – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder, ITC Learning (Tuesdays & Thursdays)