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The importance of having post training conversations

The importance of having post training...

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I am writing an evaluation review document for an ongoing training programme. Managers are supposed to be having conversations with their people before they attend, but we also want them to start having conversations with them once they have attended; to find out how they got on, what they learnt and what they want to impliment etc.  Some of our managers do this, while others "dont have the time".

Does anyone know of anything that could be used to highlight the importance of this, other than just good management practice?

Regards

Scott

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22nd Aug 2011 11:24

Hi Scott. I use a model called The 3 C's Connect, Commit, Collect. There are 2 steps in the connect stage, the first is what we do as L&D professionals to enthuse and engage people prior to the learning event. I send learners mystery envelopes containing materials that have been designed to encourage them to explore key content - and its not boring reading material, its fun and informative A letter is included to encourage the learner to identify the significant challenges in the role and how the course could help to address the issues.

The second step involves the line managers in a 20 minute pre-course discussion with the learner identifying what might be the benefits for the learner, the department, the organisation.

The Commit Stage: Happens both during and after the training  built into the design are activities to encourage the learner to identify opportunities to put the new skills into practice and the support they may need. After the training the learner and manager have a discussion about how they might implement their actions and identify the returns on investment possible.

The Collect Stage happens st agreed stages following the training  and it is about identifying what was the most significant piece of learning applied and the benefits emerging as a result.

There are a couple of blogs on my site that you may find helpful:

http://spectrain.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/recall-and-the-rule-of-three/

http://spectrain.wordpress.com/2011/08/04/transfer-this/

http://spectrain.wordpress.com/2011/01/24/connecting-learners-and-content/

http://spectrain.wordpress.com/2011/07/21/leaning-transfer-%E2%80%93-dev...

http://spectrain.wordpress.com/2011/05/23/employee-development-or-are-yo...

Joy

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22nd Aug 2011 11:40

Joy,

Thanks for the info, will check it out

-- Regards Scott

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22nd Aug 2011 16:52

Hi Scott

I don't know whether you'd consider this to fall into "good practice" or not but here goes

"Hello Mr(s) Manager

You recently paid for XXXX to attend a training session on YYYY....if you don't spend a bit of time with them after the event how will you

a) assess whether you invested the money/'non productive' time or wasted it

b) assess whether they have learned anything or whether they still need to be developed in this area

c) know whether to send any more individuals/all of your team of the same training

d) learn from the individual for nothing (they may well have learned something that woulld be of direct value to you!)

e) expect them to prioiritise putting their learning into practice (if it is so low down your list of priorities that you cannot find the time to speak to them about it)

f) even actually know whether they bothered to turn up to the training!"

 

I hope this helps

Rus

www.coach-and-courses.com

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23rd Aug 2011 08:57

Rus,

I like your thinking and some of the points are valid, I dont think I would get away with such a direct approach!!

 

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23rd Aug 2011 11:01

Our two colleagues have identified really good pieces of practice which we have emulated with our clients - although we had to sadly tone down the fantastic forthright messages in the contribution from Russ above! (but it's good)

With a private manufacturer recently and then a public sector client we (i) ensured the appraisal system has the built in mechanisms for all types of training/coaching to encapsulate the "before" and "after" conversations, (ii) prefaced each course with a parking bay- a flip chart - so that organisational issues/questions FROM DELEGATES could be captured,(eg we would like to do what you are saying but this is preventing us.....) and (iii) high risk - bringing together all the participants and managers and/or each manager/participant in a facilitated session with the trainer three months down the track. Last option can be costly in terms of time/resources/money but the cost of NOT DOING IT far outweighed these considerations with a client

Finally we offer a 12 month after care service to our clients and I can send you specific details if you drop me a line once I have got the particular client to agree

Regards

Dominic

 

QED Training qedworks.com

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23rd Aug 2011 12:28

....do you think my career as a diplomat is dead in the water?

;-)

Rus

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23rd Aug 2011 12:38

Er no Russ - The Chatham School today and Lord Palmerston of yesterday would say there is still a place for gunboat diplomacy -lol

Still has its place but you need a steady compass in these increasingly  unchartered waters - for some

I actually like your approach

Dominic

 

QED Training qedworks.com

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23rd Aug 2011 16:46

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Many moons ago, in a company I worked for we had an evaluation system that worked well and sent out the message that the before and after were as important as what happened on the learning event. The evaluation document was sent out to the delegate’s line manager prior to the course and they were requested to meet with the individual to discuss their attendance. There was a section for them to complete detailing their objectives for their member of staff. There was also a section for them to enter the date of their post-course meeting with the staff member. We asked the delegate to think about what they wanted to achieve as well. The next part of the document had to be completed immediately after the course by the delegate. We sent a copy of the document to the line manager following the course for them to detail the outcome of their post-course meeting and also to include any improvements/changes in behaviour etc.

As well as making the evaluation process more robust, it quickly highlighted those line managers that weren’t doing this.

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By sylvij
23rd Aug 2011 21:28

Hi Scott, there is a interesting piece of research on conversations at work that might be useful. 'Straight talking: Effective career discussions at work. NICEC Briefing, Cambridge'  Hirsh, W., Jackson, C., and Kidd, J. (2001) which you can download from http://www.nicec.org/nicec_straight_talking_effectivecareerdiscussions_r...

Sylvi...

 

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24th Aug 2011 15:04

-- Bola Owoade

Funny enough i would suggest you just schedule a time after each course and call them. Have a discussion based on a number pre-set questions. This serves two purposes:

It helps you to build a relationshipIt also shows that you care about their team member's development

I've found out nothing beats quick but frequent and consistent chats. Sometimes we just need to drop the HR/Learning and development speak and put an a business/entrepreneurial mindset and just go out there with a direct approach to get what we want.

 

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By rcl
25th Aug 2011 13:38

I like Rus's approach too, and it's interesting that Scott doesn't think he could be so direct.

I would add something further. Make it a line management issue. If they don't follow up, it's a disciplinary issue. After all, what else are you letting your managers get away with not doing? Not checking expenses before they sign off? Not checking for personal use of resources? Not checking if people give back their laptops before they leave? Not checking if people are giving customer details to journalists?

If you can't be that direct, Scott, then honestly, I wouldn't hold up much hope of the managers going out of their way either.

I know it sounds harsh. I know that proponents of engagement and coaching will object. The managers really are busy, and they need to be sold the benefits. No. They need to do their jobs, otherwise no-one else will either.

Alternatively, HR could help the managers out and have those conversations for them. And do the needs analysis for them. And do the appraisals and evaluations for them. And while you're at it, milk and two sugars, thanks.

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25th Aug 2011 22:55

If you want someone to think something is important, they need to have a good reason to do so. And that will usually involve self interest. WIIFM?

What is in it for the managers? Maybe you can get them to do it simply through compliance because they have been told to do it or face consequences. Not ideal.

So they need to be shown how doing it will have a positive benefit on their work and their team, and help them meet their targets rather than distract them from what they think is more important stuff.

Have a chat with the managers who do it well and find out why they value doing it and see it as important within their job context. How can you bring that same level of importance into the minds of the ones who are not yet doing it well?

Cheers, Paul

 

 

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26th Aug 2011 14:09

 

Thanks for all your suggestions, I have had a discussion with colleagues in the delivery team and have arranged a meeting to discuss a number of points raised in this thread.  In terms of taking the direct approach, there is nothing more I would love to do and totally agree that taking an interest in the development of their people is a massive part of a manager’s role and we do have some really good managers that do this, we also have those that don’t.  In the past we have come up against strong opposition from taking a direct stance and so now take a more "softer" approach with this population of managers. A massive part of it is about changing the culture within the organisation and trying to move away from the old BR “that’s how its always been done” days, I think the expression “Slowly, slowly catchee monkey” springs to mind. We’ll get there Regards Scott  PS:  RCL – kettles just boiled, help yourself.

 

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28th Aug 2011 07:24

....there is always the organisational issue of "Who is actually paying for the training?" in other words, is the line manager actually coughing up for the training out of a limited budget or is the HR function costed in to the organisation as an overhead and there is no material cost to the line manager in the provision of the training?

 

This matters because, although we have all talked about the long term benefits of training and the less tangible benefits of improved performance, the simple fact is that a prime way of creating and perpetuating waste is to allow someone (the line manager) to buy something (training) for someone else (the staff member) with a third party's (the "company" or the HR or Training department's) money.

It's part of the "big company" approach that some people have towards office stationery or the office phone bill........freelancers don't generally waste money because it comes out of their own pocket and there is a personal cost involved in wasting it, whereas people who will still get paid the same, regardless of whether they waste their "employee" budget or not, find that they can easily ignore the personal responsibility for contributing to or measureing the ROI....simply because it isn't their Investment.

Rus

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