In a recent BusinessWeek article, “Why HR Can’t Innovate,” posted by Liz Ryan, she bemoans many of the current business hiring practices:

With unemployment still so high, it’s amazing to hear that employers are clamoring for talent. The so-called talent shortage is a major topic at human resources and recruiting conferences, and the balance of messages on my answering machine has shifted over the past year from inquiries by job seekers to contacts by HR folks seeking referrals to talented job candidates. It is strange that even though every hiring manager knows that the sharpest candidates don’t stay on the market long, corporate recruiting processes don’t change. They don’t get nimbler or faster. They don’t get less burdensome or bureaucratic. You’d think that employers hungry for talent would innovate, making their recruiting processes easier and more human.

. . . The whole encrusted recruiting process (not to mention unfriendly, robotic auto-responders and the unending stream of honesty tests, writing tests, and other recruiting hurdles) makes it easy for organizations to hire drones, and it makes it hard for them to hire the brilliant and complex people they need to solve their problems. . . .

You may not be doing any hiring today but whenever you do (or when your organization’s HR group assumes that responsibility for you) you’d better be certain that your training objectives are clear to yourself and to everyone else involved.

Unless you know what you are attempting to accomplish both your new hires and your new training initiatives are probably fated to go nowhere.

Let’s look at some of the items you might consider when determining those objectives.

For example, do your objectives include minimizing downtime, reducing scrap, and/or cross-training your workforce?

Maybe your objectives are designed to change employee attitudes or to introduce them to new HR procedures?

In all cases, your training initiatives should be measured against a “tasks-skills” result. First, you need to know the tasks required to accomplish your organization’s desired objectives.

Second, you need to identify the skills required to positively impact those required tasks.

Finally, you need to look at the results you achieve: in downtime, scrap and multi-craft capability — in the easier compliance with new HR procedures — in improving employee attitudes. The numbers will be available. Only then will you be able to validate the success of your training initiatives.

And, only then, will you also be able to more accurately identify the job applicants capable of actually helping you in the process of real learning — learning that translates into better and more efficient on-the-job performance.

More on Thursday – – –

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