By William Seidman Professor of Management and Labor Dr. Harry J. Martin has a good article, “Lessons Learned,” in the Wall Street Journal/MIT Sloan Review. His message is cogent and important: “The key to effective training isn’t necessarily what happens in the classroom. It’s what you do afterward.” The benefits of change are clear: increased productivity, higher morale, cost savings, and improved communication. Enhanced problem-solving is an added plus. Once the training is ended, though, and work resumes, several vitally important aspects of change must be in play in order for things to not backslide. According to Martin it’s essential to:
- Put It on Paper – write down the action plan, make an outline or a list.
- Measure Results – the all-important follow-up. Performance assessment is so important.
- Get Help from Peers – especially important in settings where management support for the training is deemed to be weak.
- Have Supportive Superiors – when a boss assumes the role of coach or mentor, employees are much more likely to apply what they learned in training. The leader sets the bar!
- Gain Access to Experts – trainees might need additional information. Companies can help, and reinforce change, by helping to provide technical support such as reference materials and access to experts. When good information is shared and promoted, organizations’ training programs gain from it.