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How to translate training into business results

It’s well-known that businesses that invest in their people consistently out-perform their competition. Yet when corporate belts are tightened, time and again it is the training budget that’s one of the first to be reduced, if not cut completely.

As a business leader with a focus firmly on the bottom line, I am sad to say that in many cases I understand this response. The reality for most businesses is that money out has to at least equal (if not exceed), money in. Why consistently spend money on training if you aren’t seeing measurable returns? And that’s the problem with many traditional training methods; they focus on teaching skills and behaviours in the classroom, but not on transferring these new skills and behaviours into the workplace to deliver tangible business results.

When you want to deliver successful training, which gives you a return on your investment, you have to ensure that the training program extends beyond the training mechanism itself. Below are just a few strategies that will help you to transfer your training into real returns in the workplace.

Make sure that the participants are accountable not only for their own learning, but for bringing their new behaviours and skills back to the workplace. Set some milestones and targets that they have to achieve over the course of the months following the training. Ensure that their learnings have to be integrated into their job in order to meet their targets.

Social learning:
The value of social learning post the formal training course is that it sets the right conditions for learning to stick. People pay close attention when talking to other people; generate deeper brain connections; experience more emotions; and reanimate ideas. So, look to set up monthly workshops, webinars or even conference calls for participants to share their experiences, results and learnings to date. You can even include an exercise or two in the session to continue to stretch the participants’ learning. This is where expert guidance can help you make sure that the material and program you develop isn’t short term, but drives value for your organisation.

Coaching is ultimately about helping people bridge the gap between where they are and where they want to be, so it represents an ideal way to support employees in developing and embedding new skills and behaviours in the workplace. A number of brief sessions following the training can be enough to help them overcome challenges, deepen their learning and give them the confidence to continue to stretch themselves.

Next time you are looking at training needs for your employees, take some time to think about what strategies, aside from the formal training mechanism, you can put in place to support the use and ongoing development of their new skills and behaviours. I can assure you the results will speak for themselves.