Five Simple Steps To Update Your Training Delivery
5 Simple Steps
To Update Your Training Delivery
Prepared By Projections, Inc.
T oday, more and more companies are becoming increasingly aware of the importance
of effective training to the success of their organization, and of the impact that training has on the
company’s bottom line. In a larger sense, these same companies are also coming to more fully appreciate
the value of knowledge, of learning in general, to their entire enterprise. It has long been accepted that
effective training reduces risks, helps retain employees and is essential for providing quality customer
service. This evolution means that dedicated and effective training programs are considered part of the
cost of doing business.
Learning Resources Network (www.lern.org) reports that 80 percent of instruction today is by live
trainers, about six percent of that being done remotely, mostly online. Computer-based instruction
accounts for 13% of all training, and the bulk of that is done via CD’s. In the near future, we can expect
these methods to evolve as we move culturally toward more knowledge-based employment.
To that end, the amount of training companies provide via their own intranets is growing, but so is
delivery via the internet that allows employees to train from anywhere at any time. The important point
here is that it is now becoming vital to deliver training in multiple ways in order meet the instructional
needs and preferences of each company’s unique workforce. Thus companies must not only be willing
to make the investment in training but also be willing to explore new deliverability methods that inspire
But with this evolution, upper management now expects a faster ROI and more efficient implementation
of the processes the training investment impacts. More than ever, training is not just about human capital,
but about profitability and the bottom line. The result of this new emphasis is that it turns up the pressure
for training accountability even higher, leaving many trainers and managers looking for ways to improve
training as well as the potential return on any new investment in training.
Great Training Update #1: Custom Video
Don’t Get Boxed In
While out-of-the-box solutions are appropriate for some instruction, such as software introductions, they
are often so generic as to fail to engage the participant. Employees can come into your training situation
with a wide range of previous experiences, knowledge, self-motivation, interests, and abilities, which can
lead to frustration and boredom when the training seems irrelevant. So, improve your training by making
sure it is need-specific. At a minimum, customize your training to show your company name and logo,
and make sure the language is appropriate for your industry.
Remember that relevancy is king. If you provide generic ‘boxed’ training on how to be a good supervisor,
but what your supervisors really need is specific knowledge about dealing with in-house union organizers,
those supervisors will regard the training as a pointless waste of their time. Cut to the heart of what
employees need with fully
customized training. If Over the last 3 years, companies with over 50 employees
your company isn’t sure reported a 65% - 75% increase in the number of employees
what training is needed, receiving formal training.
survey employees to find
out what gaps they have -US Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov)
in their knowledge.
Custom video training resources that reflect your company’s unique attributes and needs can provide
meaningful, entertaining and consistent instruction. Seeing their own company, their daily job functions
and other relevant reminders on screen will encourage employees to take notice. It becomes clear that
the company values them enough to make sure training has meaning beyond a checklist of employees
who must complete it. Adult learning theory reminds us that employees need to agree that the training is
related and relevant to their day-to-day activities, and video training can meet that need consistently.
Retailer HoneyBaked Ham recently chose a series of custom video modules to train their young, seasonal
employees. “This is the best holiday training series we’ve created to date,” said Ami Huff, HoneyBaked’s
Retail Training and Sales Support Manager. The series used humor and relaxed narration to increase
relevancy to their individual workforce, and the short vignettes allowed for easy understanding and
quick implementation of the concepts. The resulting improvements in customer service and employee
satisfaction led HoneyBaked to create additional video modules for their upcoming holiday season.
Great Training Update #2: eLearning
Remove the ‘one way’ signs
Adult learning theory also tells us that employees need to receive feedback on how they are doing - the
results of their efforts. Opportunities can thus be built into the training that allow employees to practice
what they’ve been taught and receive structured, helpful feedback. An excellent way to update your
training based on this precept is to develop custom eLearning
modules. Combining the best of video, computer-based-
training (CBT), classroom-led instruction, and compliance “eLearning has reached a high
reporting, today’s eLearning more than meets the needs of level of sophisitcation, both in
adult learners. terms of instructional development
and the effective management of
In the past, the tools that were marketed as eLearning
resources. Many organizations...
consisted of nothing more than electronic page-turning.
are able to attribute clear cost
Today’s resources have moved well beyond the basic into
truly engaging, interactive experiences that even afford savings, efficiency gains in the
companies the opportunity to track compliance. learning function... and decreased
costs of learning development and
Well-designed eLearning provides consistency in training delivery.”
and addresses the adult learner need of control over certain
aspects of their training. They can work at a customized pace, -American Society
for Training & Development,
the training can be completed anywhere they have access to a
2006 State of the Industry Report
computer, at any time they are ready. Additionally, interactive
exercises make sure they understand the material before
moving on. No longer is an ‘80%’ acceptable – the employee
must get the answers right before the training is complete.
eLearning can be developed on almost any topic, and deployed in multiple locations, nationally or
globally, all at the same time. This new way of gaining knowledge provides an experience like no other,
with feedback, control and automatic compliance tracking.
Great Training Update #3: Podcasting
Say You Want a Revolution
We’re all used to the fact that technology changes daily. And we know that a 20-year employee will learn
in different ways than someone new to the workforce. But how is it possible to take advantage of those
differences to update employee training?
Enter training podcasts. The term “podcast” has only been around for a few years, but almost everyone is
familiar with the idea. Podcasts are almost a natural for training – they’re like on-demand radio, delivered
instantly and effortlessly. Going back to adult learning theory, podcasts free employees from scheduled
training, allowing them to learn any time, any where. A podcast also allows employees to control which
training they take and when. Even thinking beyond these assets, podcasts are also incredibly inexpensive to
produce and disseminate.
In his book, “Podcasting 101 for Training and Development,” training strategist Kaliym A. Islam says
companies must truly evaluate the material before choosing to deliver via podcast. “Podcasting cannot
replace all the other types of training,” says Islam, “because it does not allow for interactivity and feedback,
it is more like a lecture or an explanation than a training session.” Still, podcasts can be very effective in
certain areas. Islam goes on to list the likely areas in which podcasts will be effective:
• reinforcement of training
• supplemental training
• following up on training
• providing information to people who cannot attend
• replacing content-only portions of training
So, is podcasting right for your material? If you want the ability to provide training information quickly and
consistently, podcasting will deliver. From sales techniques to internal processes, the automatic download
of a new podcast will provide employees with up-to-the minute training that they can take advantage of
whenever and wherever they are ready, and listen to multiple times if necessary.
Great Training Update #4: Follow-Up
Open the Door
By providing custom video, eLearning, podcasts and more, you’ve taken important steps to utilize all the
resources you can to engage employees and truly impact the bottom line. But remember, too, that one-on-
one instruction and even discussions play an important role, especially with regard to training follow-up.
Employees should participate in small-group activities to help move them beyond basic understanding into
application of the training. Schedule small-group activities or discussions for several days or weeks after
the training is completed. This will provide a forum for employees to share their experiences, review any
issues, and understand from management how important it is that the training bring about change.
Getting employees to put what they’ve learned into practice is not automatic. By including follow-up in the
form of coaching and other support, you can help employees transfer what they’ve learned into daily use,
so the skills you’ve taught are sustained.
As you’re working to open this particular door, always take into account that adult learning involves ego.
The activities and discussion must be structured to provide support from co-workers, and to reduce any fear
of judgment from others. So, if small-group meetings simply aren’t possible, one-on-one conversations can
provide valuable insight into how well the training is being integrated.
Great Training Update #5: Measure Results - and Celebrate Them
The Path to Next Year’s Training
Finally, we can’t talk about updating training without touching on the results of that training. For upper
management, “results” will be tied to the bottom line, but Human Resource professionals know that there is
more to measure than just dollars. Reconciling these two points of view is not necessarily as complex as it
may seem, and the two can truly come together by considering a few basic questions:
First, what is your company’s business model - what business activities create profit either directly or
indirectly, and how do you measure performance in those areas?
Next, what is management’s plan to improve the performance of these profit centers?
Finally, how can training initiatives support management’s intentions?
By looking at these questions, companies can determine if a particular kind of training is actually changing
behaviors and thus supporting the bottom line. When companies begin by selecting the profits they wish
to impact and follow that by creating a link between that particular profit center and the training, it is then
possible to assign a dollar value to the results of the training. These same questions can also be used in
a forward-thinking manner to help evaluate new training by looking at how those programs will support
management’s plans to create profit within the business model.
Once you can concretely report the results of any training, it’s important to celebrate the positive impact the
training had on employees. If you reduced liability by so many dollars or were able to increase productivity
or reduce turnover by a certain percentage, give employees the pat on the back they deserve. This can
be simple in nature
– from departmental “...measurement of the learning function has shifted from a focus
luncheons to lapel pins, on program-level evaluation to the aggregation of data across the
whatever is appropriate enterprise to report on learning investments and the value those
for your employees.
investments ultimately bring to the organization.”
By reinforcing that
the training – and the
-American Society for Training & Development,
employees – have had a
2006 State of the Industry Report
very real impact on the
company as a whole,
you are setting the stage for future training success stories.
As a final note, remember that companies that value training must also value innovation. It’s vital to
continue updating your training methods as new delivery options become available. If your company’s
training has evolved into a full-blown Learning Management System, make sure that the training content
itself doesn’t become stale, boring, or irrelevant over time. The easiest way to determine this is to provide
employees a way in which they can submit feedback.
In the end, custom training that is available on a variety of platforms, on topics that are truly relevant to
employees, and that take into account management’s profit center intentions, will have the greatest impact
on the bottom line. And that’s the greatest training innovation there is.
As you consider innovations for your training programs, keep in mind that companies like Projections, with
nearly 30 years helping employers communicate with employees, can assist in creating the solutions that
will help you meet your goals.
Connecting Through Employee Communications
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