Best Practices in Training and Development
Best Practices in Training and Development
Training and development is the keystone of successful company’s operation. There are a lot of training methods today that can be used for staff training. Many of the training options that are easily available take too much time, are too high-priced, are curriculum and course oriented and do not match the needs of the company or enterprise. That is why it is very important to realize all pros and cons of these methods. Instructor – Led Classroom Training. Pros: High quality delivery; Immediate Q & A; Leverage student questions.
Cons: Costly student/trainer expense; Costly one-to-few training; Training often too soon/too late; Trainer must be knowledgeable of multiple applications. Best for: Multiple students of similar skill level; Training in single location; Observable performance Interpersonal skills/feedback; Highly interactive knowledge sharing. Worth for: Students of widely-varying skill levels; Training for large system/process rollout; Consistency across learner groups. Asynchronous Web – Based Internet/Intranet Training.
Pros: Just-in-time training; No travel costs; Self-paced learning; Remedial training at no cost; Consistency; Possible increased retention; Easily distributed/updated training materials. Cons: Self-directed motivation can be problematic; Lack of classroom collaboration; May be viewed as “done on your own time”. Best for: Basic training; Students in multiple locations; As part of instructor-led training course. Worth for: Observable interpersonal skills/feedback; Real-time knowledge sharing.
Synchronous (real-time) Web – Based Internet/Intranet Training. Pros: High quality delivery; Immediate Q & A; Leverage student questions; Rapid, low-cost content. Cons: Cost-per-student higher than asynchronous training; Network connection needed. Best for: Basic training; Students in multiple locations; Highly interactive knowledge sharing; Hands-on application training. Worth for: Students of widely-varying skill levels Observable interpersonal skills/feedback. What training method is the most useful and productive?
Jim Campbell, Hudson’s Bay Company’s organizational management senior manager, said on the Canada’s Learning and Development Conference, that e-learning is not the be-all and end-all solution. His preferred approach is blended learning, where technology-assisted learning is integrated into more traditional training methods. “E-learning staff learned an important lesson when 5,000 binders of material meant as support for the online courses were distributed to employees”, said David Wright, TD learning and development senior manager.
“About a year later, when we’d travel to the different branches, we’d still see people holding on to those binders. ” Wright said some employees were simply choosing to print out all of the online material and study it in paper form anyway. He says the company acknowledges that not everyone learns in the same fashion, adding e-learning is best combined with peer-assisted training and one-on-one coaching. A blended approach to learning is not always an easy sell.
Banks are conservative organizations and many TD employees had a hard time getting over a “computer-phobia,” Wright said. To this day, the company has to use scare tactics to get some of its employees to complete online courses, for example, when an online course is a pre-requisite for a seminar. In most midsize or large companies, internal training and development is viewed as a strategic imperative. “I’m all for the renaissance person,” says Lee Dailey, director of executive and management development at United Technology Corp.
Dailey heads the Hartford, Connecticut, conglomerate’s Employee Scholar Program, a legendarily generous plan under which every one of UTC’s 200,000-plus employees is eligible for 100 percent reimbursement of all educational costs, including tuition, registration fees and books. Courses do not have to be directly related to the participant’s job. “If you’re an engineer for our Pratt & Whitney division and you want to study Middle Eastern religion, go ahead,” Dailey says. In addition, employees are given three hours off each week to work at their studies or attend class.
When employees earn a degree, they are awarded $10,000 worth of company stock. Currently, 15 percent of UTC’s workforce is enrolled. Last year the company paid out $60 million, and it has spent $400 million since 1996, when the scholar program was instituted in its current form. The program, Dailey says, has never been evaluated for ROI. “Inherently, people understand that a better-educated workforce is a more productive workforce. ” This is the philosophy of longtime UTC CEO George David, Dailey adds. “He wants the best-educated workforce on the planet.
” Training and continuing education are tracked at General Motors, says Jeff Johnson, director of benefit operations worldwide for the auto company. Under the firm’s Salaried Employees’ Tuition Assistance Plan, managers must get approval from their supervisors before enrolling in courses that will earn them a desired undergraduate degree or advance their technical or managerial skills. “They’re very rarely turned down,” Johnson says, adding that few employees want to waste their time or GM’s money on irrelevant courses.
The yearly limit at GM is $6,400 per individual for undergraduate education and $10,000 for postgraduate courses. Generally, large companies are the most generous with tuition dollars, but small and medium-sized companies do their best to keep up. Washington Trust Company, a 16-branch bank in Westerly, Rhode Island, gives tuition assistance to 70 of its 450 employees. Undergraduates must obtain a grade of at least C in their courses, and graduate students a B. Last year the company spent $73,000, and Kristen DiSanto, vice president for human resources, considers it money well spent.
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