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To make a difference in 2013, coaching will be key

David Fairhurst, chief people officer for Macdonalds, Europe, recently wrote in the Huffington Post: “Workplace training shouldn't be a 'nice to do.’ It has to be a 'must do’,” while talking about the skills that are needed to help our economy to grow out of recession and nurture talent to the benefit of all.  I agree entirely with David’s sentiments but with that also comes the increased risk of wasted money...

 

 

Although many board directors and HR leaders claim to have responded to the challenging business conditions, I find many companies still lack focus in the areas needed to ensure a business strategy or transformation plan progresses to become a reality.  If you are going to invest in training and development, you can’t afford to pay lip service to it.  This has never been more so than in today’s tough economic climate. Getting a return on investment is a must; investing in training and development and not giving yourself the best return is as bad as not investing at all.

 

The current environment has demanded a change in business and HR strategy for most organisations.  If a newly stated direction is to become a reality, change has to happen on the ground amongst the people that are out in the field. Ongoing development programmes are therefore essential to help support those people with the right skills and tools, so that change takes hold and businesses can really adapt and grow quickly.

 

The training industry, in my view, is more often than not guilty of consistently under delivering when it comes to real impact on individual and organisational performance.  One of the reasons for this is the delivery of one-off unconnected training events; the basic principles of skill development, that are readily applied to other domains, seem to get ignored as businesses rush to buy and deliver training for less money and in less time.

 

Having (too) many ongoing initiatives also makes it hard for employees to focus and change behaviour.  Different programmes, language, tools and concepts, often delivered to the same people in a short space of time, become too much like hard work to process, causing people to switch off and stick with their own bad habits for an easy life.

 

So what’s the answer?  Well one thing is for sure, when it comes to training there are no ‘magic wands’ or ‘silver bullets.’  My observation is that there must be a ‘joined up’ approach with training never taking place isolation. For example, once people have been equipped with new knowledge, skills and tools, then the attention of the ‘training department’ needs to shift to reinforcing this with follow up support and coaching; providing simple practical tools to help people use the skills that they have acquired, along with regular coaching to help use them better.  Mobile applications can be perfect for this, as they can support people on the ground, while out in the field, during their everyday business life.

 

Too simple? Simple maybe, but far from easy to implement. Of course there are ‘enlightened’ HR and training directors out there; Gazing has been lucky to find and work with some of them. However, training and development investments are often high on the list of cost cutting exercises; it is easy to see why when any measurable impact is so intangible. If organisations are to play their part in growing out of this recession during 2013, business leaders need to take a long hard look at the role of their training departments and delivery partners. They need to ask themselves whether they have the right support and follow-up in place to ensure newly trained employees can practice and use the new skills that they have gained. So I’d agree workplace training is a must do, just make sure it’s connected to the bigger business picture and there’s thorough follow through, as no one can afford to waste any investment these days.

 

Martin Fairn, CEO, Gazing Performance Systems

 

www.gazing.com

 

@gazingtraining

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7.2.1 Privacy Policy

7.2.2 Terms and Conditions