How can training and development programmes deliver more for less?

Senior consultant Tiffany Bowles, provides the top five priorities to deliver targeted and successful development.

  1. Be precise about what to target
    This stage is about identifying the key people capabilities that will help the organisation drive its strategy forward to achieve its goals and objectives. When planning think to the future, translating the strategy into the key knowledge, skills and attributes (KSAs) employees will need to deliver the strategy. Focus your attention on those interventions that are going to have the biggest impact on achieving the organisation’s goals and objectives.
  2. Be precise about who to develop
    It is useful at this point to identify who falls into the following groups:
    • your current high-performers – those who can help to move the organisation forward straight away and be your leaders of tomorrow
    • Your potential high performers – those who are raring to go, eager for every opportunity, but haven’t quite got the right skills yet
    • Those who are happy to see things stay the same, minimally contributing at a just satisfactorily level, but with no discretionary effort
    • Your underperformers – the interventions for whom need to centre initially around straight talking about expectations – after which development may or may not follow

    Focus your efforts on those who will give you a return for your investment, your current and potential high performers. Interventions that don’t meet the needs of the individual will fail to engage or motivate them to learn. So concentrate on those who are willing and able to develop. Use ability and motivation tests to help you identify them.

  3. Be precise about how to develop
    Ensure the development interventions have been designed to deliver an increase in capability. Often it is all three aspects of Knowledge, skills and attributes that need to be developed. Bringing them together and selecting the most appropriate methods can be a challenge. Our research shows that those who have done this the most successfully typically follow an Academy type programme using a wide range of planned interventions ranging from coaching and mentoring, soft-skills training workshops, action learning sets, and additional role responsibilities or special projects.
  4. Be precise about the ongoing support of development
    Post-development support is almost as crucial as the intervention itself. For example, training plus coaching afterwards is over 70% more effective than training alone. Support the developed afterwards by putting a plan in place to ensure they use their new capabilities to benefit the organisation. Ways to support the employee after development include: follow-up workshops with the tutor, learning support groups, challenging projects supported by a mentor, and one-to-one or group coaching.
  5. Be precise about how to measure the impact
    Measuring and monitoring the impact of your development interventions is essential. It ensures that the interventions are working in precisely the way you intended and will help you to secure the budget you need. In addition to considering the more obvious hard measures such as sales, revenue and productivity, it is also important to utilise softer measures such as customer satisfaction and engagement scores.
    It is also important to find out not only what difference the intervention has made but also how, so that you can enhance and improve the intervention and maximise its impact. Methods like Kirkpatrick’s learning evaluation theory will help you with this.

    To read the full whitepaper, click here