The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay – Henry Ford
Post-training- are the courses making a difference at your workplace?
Sometimes I get saddened when I realize that after all the preparation, efforts, enthusiasm, passion that I put in some of the training programs, the impact gets dissolved and put into the cooler soon after the participants return to their desks. What a waste!
Here are some of the comments that come from the grapevine of participants of various courses across several industries in Ghana. If they happen to relate to your company, please note that they are purely coincidental:
- “Don’t mind the Supervisors, they send people on courses just to tick the boxes and meet their targets”
- “They just need to get it done because it is approved in the budget and the funds need to be utilized before the end of year!”
- “Some of us are selected to attend irrelevant courses that do not relate to our work”
- “ Are the Supervisors also attending the course? They need them more than we do”
- “There is no point being trained when we go back into the same environment, stuck in the old ways of doing things”.
- “Everyone should benefit from this course. It will reduce our reliance on logic to take decisions. We will now base our activities and decisions on the technical fundamental knowledge”
- “As for me, whatever I learn will have an impact in my future career, whether in my current company or elsewhere. Trainings are gifts to fall onto in the future. You never know where it will take you”
- “Training programs are chances to get out of the drudgery of routine daily work. Afterall, I meet new persons from other institutions or departments”
- “I now appreciate the reality on the ground and the reasons why certain decisions are taken by my supervisors. Knowledge is power”
- “I really value the effect that the course has made in my work. I have a better idea of the best practices across the industry. I now relate better with my work mates as well as my clients. The opposite of training is ignorance!”
Shout-Out to Consolidated Bank of Ghana (CBG)
Before I continue, I want to appreciate CBG for its regular collaboration with the Chartered Institute of Bankers to upskill its staff across board. It is a massive task, but I am sure its impact is being felt when the participants resume work. Special mention goes to the Human Capital Unit/Department. There is also a consistent representation from the Bank in the lecture room, where an Official from Head Office, sits in all the programs, listening, monitoring and evaluating the program. I have already seen results from the outstanding issues that are discussed by participants. Even with whatsup banking, we occasionally prefer the human interaction and resort to people in case of need. That is when the people skills are needed and the human interaction should be great. Welldone, CBG, keep standing with your customers!
Feedback from the Training Provider
All training should be followed up with a Training Report from the training provider to the client institution, in the case of external facilitation. The training provider, the trainee, the client institution and the supervisor all need to understand that a learning curve is involved in every attempt to apply training on the job. The person who attended the employee training needs time for the new ideas, skills, or thoughts to sink in or become assimilated and connected to what they already know and believe.
The course report
It is important that the participants complete a training/course report, with a portion also completed by the immediate supervisors on next moves and recommendations. Following up with employees is key.
Successful training and employee development efforts provide a real-time connection between the classroom and the workplace. Without this connection, most of what employees learn and experience in training sessions never shows up at work.
Transferring the knowledge to the workplace:
This is the most difficult part. Ask yourself whether the selection of the participants was thoroughly done based on the training objectives and learning outcomes. Was the training gaps even identified? What were the learning outcomes? Were they communicated to the participants? If this was not done, then it is a recipe for disaster! How can the new knowledge/skills learnt become transferable?
Since the training report includes a section completed by the immediate supervisor, then its is imperative to sit down with the supervisor to plan the new strategies that can make the training transferable. Before then, check if the skills taught at the training program meets the expected outcomes. A client does not have to accept any new ideas that goes contrary to its internal policies. Let us look at some of the strategies which can be realistic and realizable:
- Work with the supervisor to make certain the individual who attended training has a chance to practice the new accepted skills.
- The employee’s development goals should fit in with the company’s performance management process. Since most performance goals include training and development, the employee would become more accountable and know that the training was not planned in a vacuum.
- It is common to see participants selected to represent their departments. The training materials from the course should therefore be made available to other colleagues and used as a sharing tool to enable others also benefit from it.
- Every Company needs to have an internal team of resource persons who should be ready to participate in-house training made up of both internal and external sources to broaden the knowledge horizon of all staff. Co-workers and Supervisors should be encouraged to train each other.
- Periodic testing to review the acceptance and assimilation of the newly acquired knowledge and skills.
The power of networking
Following the employee training, people who attended can form an informal network for support and encouragement. Assigning a training partner at the session is also useful. Reviewing expectations of the network and the training partner at the session is also valuable.One powerful post-training tool has always been the networking tool. Before the introduction of whats’up as communication tool, I always recommended that e-mail groups should be made for each training cohort, with special group names to encourage networking, sharing of cases, discussion of typical related issues. This creates a bond among participants who continue learning from each other. Assignments can even be given to them and encourage e-learning to enjoy its benefits.
The Turning Point for Bank Management
At the crossroad, the following issues are still keeping the bank management personnel awake at night and most can be addressed through training and talent management:
- Practicalizing a fundamental change in mindset of all staff towards the transformation in banking.
- Alignment of staff to new organizational structure and job descriptions
- Res-shaping workforce and talent strategy
- Employment of a new breed of bankers with skills in creative design and programming and broadening their minds to blend with existing staff with good people skills.
- Re-tooling staff and refreshing their knowledge for optimum performance in the transformation journey.
This is the time for leaders to engage staff to be aligned to the digital transformation to get their support at all levels. Dear bankers, this is a gentle reminder of the paradigm shift in banking. What can you do about it? Are you ready to embrace change? To upgrade yourself to be more relevant on the job, and not be square pegs in round holes? To collaborate with the millennials who are coming on board the fast-moving banking train? They will still need guidance and mentoring because the machine does not teach those human qualities. Are you ready to assist the technocrats to infuse more risk management concepts in the big data analytics, so that the world is not over-ridden with machines? Your future in banking is in your hands.
Post Training Follow-ups
In these days of e-learning, I hope that institutions and companies continue to follow up and implement more of these ideas to follow up on employee training to ensure the likelihood that trainees transfer classroom training to the workplace. The business of building productive, exciting workplaces in which people continue to grow and develop is a service to both the employees and the organizations.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alberta Quarcoopome is a Fellow of the Institute of Bankers, and CEO of ALKAN Business Consult Ltd. She is the Author of Three books: “The 21st Century Bank Teller: A Strategic Partner” and “My Front Desk Experience: A Young Banker’s Story” and “The Modern Branch Manager’s Companion”. She uses her experience and practical case studies, training young bankers in operational risk management, sales, customer service, banking operations and fraud.