The goal of any training should be to improve business results, says Ryan Hale, lead consultant with Stroud Consulting. The seemingly obvious nature of that goal sometimes can and does get forgotten by companies that instead get caught up in the excitement or the curiosity factor of new tools, he claims.
The best training, Hale says, has immediate measurable results (for example, generating a financial impact) and also lasting benefits, meaning that employees can apply those skills as their careers develop. He outlines a four-step process to making the most of an investment in training:
- Understand the goals of the business and the business results required to meet those goals.
- Determine the skills and the roles required to perform the work necessary to achieve the desired business results.
- Determine the training needed to close the skills gaps.
- Establish accountability in the organization to ensure that the people who received the training are applying their new skills to achieve the desired business results.
The first two steps apply rigor and discipline to the training investment process. Hale says he has observed organizations skip the first two steps and then forget the last, which ultimately "leaves people unhappy or unsatisfied with what they get for that investment in training."