Many organisations recognise the benefit of developing their people in a bid to meet their strategic and operational objectives. Investment in training and development can provide a cost-effective and efficient way of driving the growth and development of employees, so they are better placed to have a positive impact on organisational performance and success.

However, if businesses are to realise the true value of their investment they and their employees must approach the learning and development process in a positive way.

Here are my five tips for maximising impact from training and development programmes:

  1. Have clear organisational goals in mind for training
An organisation should always ask itself what its objectives for training are, and what benefit it will receive from improving attitudes, knowledge and skills, and creating behaviour change in the workforce. These aims and objectives should be measurable and explicitly communicated to the employee so they understand what is expected of them before, during and after the training. Explaining the bigger picture will encourage them to align their own targets with the overall vision of the business.
  1. Ask your team to think about what they want from the training
Establishing organisational objectives is essential, but it’s also important your employees understand the value of training from an individual and personal perspective. Ask them all to think about what the training might involve, and what they each want to gain from it. A useful exercise is to encourage your team members to write down questions for themselves about the training beforehand, and challenge them to answer them by the end of the course.
  1. Evaluate behaviours and attitudes before and after training
It is essential to evaluate job behaviours and attitudes before and after training to see exactly what impact the training has made. By continuing to monitor change on a long-term basis you can intervene if required to reinforce learnings and maximise the impact of the initial training investment. A good training provider will work with you to evaluate this return on investment effectively and will also recommend post-training intervention such as coaching and action learning, aimed at maximising learning transfer to the workplace.
  1. Aim to foster personal and professional development
Professional training tends to focus on what the learner can do differently for the good of the organisation, but it also offers high potential for personal development. Encourage your employees to assess their individual areas of strength and progression, and identify ways to help them achieve more through training. If your team know they will be gaining new valuable skills to enhance their own development as well as the goals of the organisation, they are likely to be more motivated to learn and achieve more.
  1. Ensure your employees are consistently engaged
Lack of motivation or even boredom can be the downfall of a potentially effective training programme, so make sure your team are fully engaged and focused throughout the duration of their training. If something isn’t working communicate this with your training provider. Good professional providers will be flexible with their programme, and if your team are not responding well to an aspect of their training, they are obliged to adapt their style or delivery. It is also vital you engage your employees in the workplace, ensuring they have plenty of opportunity to practice their new skills and behaviours. Make a real effort to remove all barriers to implementation on the job and impact will be maximised.

By Matthew Channell, operations director at TSW Training