The ultimate goal of training and development has always been to achieve permanent,
measurable improvements in performance that have a positive impact on business results.
Executives and HR professionals have pursued this goal for decades. Regrettably,
most organizations haven't been able to achieve anything close to this expected return
on their investment—especially in the improvement of leadership, sales, service and
other interpersonal skills. Even though tens of billions of dollars are invested
in learning and development every year, the best efforts of trainers have not been
able to consistently produce permanent changes in workplace behavior. This failure
has come to be known as the "transfer of training problem."
Experts say the issue typically isn't with the training and development programs
themselves, but with their context—the activities and practices that happen before,
during and afterwards. The central problem is inadequate follow-up reinforcement
of the skills introduced in training. Recent discoveries in neuroscience tell us
why this is so important: performance improvement involves the growing of new dendrites
to reconnect brain cells into new pathways that enable new skills and behavior patterns.
This physical connecting-up process depends on a substantial amount of practical
application and reinforcement, which almost never happens in the traditional approach
to training and development.
It's neither necessary nor desirable to try to improve all areas at once. To achieve
positive results as soon as possible, the best approach is to get started quickly
by doing three things, which can be accomplished in a very short period of time:
- Acquire integrated assessment and training technologies that support ongoing
- Involve direct managers in the learning process. Define their staff development
responsibilities and hold them accountable.
- Measure performance improvement. Assess skill areas before and after learning
to establish developmental goals and accountability.
You can then build on the foundation of these successes with a customized strategy
to optimize all eight critical areas.
Before training, individual performance levels are benchmarked using 20/20 selected
Insight GOLD feedback assessments, with the expectation that follow-up measurements
will be made several months after training. This focuses learner attention, increases
motivation and establishes a mechanism for accountability. Training programs incorporate
best practices that contribute to retention and learning transfer. With the support
of trainers, direct managers play a crucial role during the follow-up reinforcement
phase, supporting continued learning, ongoing feedback, coaching and accountability.