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Strategic Training: Navigating Organizational Challenges

It seems as if everything now is requiring a training for something. In reality, is it needed? While training is often warranted, it’s not always the case. The key is ensuring stakeholders not only know what training is intended to accomplish, but if training is the best avenue for the request at hand.

What is Training?

There are multiple definitions of training, but for the purpose of this article, we’ll use the following definition: Training is a process to change employee behavior due to lack of knowledge or skill.

Training is a formal or informal event led by someone with some level of specialty or focus. There is a specific process to training; there is a definite start and end. The goal of training should be to adjust employee behavior, which is typically due to a lack of knowledge or skill.

What Does – Or Does Not – Need Training

It’s important to define what falls into training, and – perhaps more importantly – what doesn’t. While stakeholders may think everything needs a training, in reality, it’s not always true. Some examples warranting a discussion of if it’s training or not include:

Training Does Not Solve Accountability

If there is an employee in your organization who is not performing their duties correctly, despite knowing what they should be doing, training alone may not be the solution. Instead of relying solely on training, it is important to identify and implement interventions that address the specific issue. Failure to provide the appropriate intervention is one of the reasons why training programs may fail.

Not having the right intervention for the need is one reason trainings fail. Other reasons can include:

Training Emergencies Don’t Exist

It’s not uncommon for different departments to present the training department with an urgent training request. While it may seem like an emergency in the moment, in reality, it rarely is. How can you convey this information while still working to find the best solution?

The more a training department can position itself as a valued thought partner, the easier it will be to correctly define an emergency. There are various ways to achieve this – one way is asking for more information. This can help determine the urgency of the request and the right avenue for the need. Questions leading to understanding the desired change, who the impacted audience is, desired timeframe, and the budget allocated for this training can help give a bigger picture idea of what’s going on.

From there, you can start conducting a needs assessment. These are designed to understand the gap between an organization’s desired state and its current state. There are various steps involved in a needs assessment, and each step is aimed at gaining more details to ultimately begin the training design process.

Feedback is a Learning Tool

In order to improve upon current processes, there needs to be open feedback along the way. While it’s important for a training team to be open to hearing what did or did not work for a department, it’s a two-way street. Everyone must be comfortable giving feedback to stakeholders as well. The key is everyone coming together to solve the problem, and move your organization forward.


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