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Imagine that you were tasked with improving the performance of the members of a particular team and as result undertook a training needs analysis to establish what skills were lacking. Your training needs evaluation showed you their competency gaps and based upon this analysis you decide to design and deliver some training events. A course was delivered with content and activities designed to bridge the gaps in the underdeveloped knowledge, skills and abilities. At the conclusion of the event when the learners completed the evaluation sheets they were almost unanimous with their praise giving 4 out of 5 across the board and everyone including you sat back thinking ‘job done’.

All seems well and good until three months later  the Divisional Director calls you in their office and tells that the figures show that not only has performance failed to improve as expected but in some respects results are worst than before your training!

What could have happened? One of the most common mistakes that we make when designing training is to neglect to get the line managers and supervisors onboard . We need to ensure that the Line Managers or Supervisors of the Learners not only accept but support and advocate the behaviours changes outlined  in our training. Without the backing of management Learners often return from their training keen and eager to apply their learning only to be told “Don’t bother with all that its fine for the training course but that’s not the way we do things here in real life”

This results in the leaner going quickly from a position of being excited to try new things to becoming frustrated and de-motivated. They will likely feel confused and disjointed with the mixed messages   -no wonder things are not improving, they may even be going backwards as no one now understands what ‘best practise’ actually is.

So How do we  fix this situation? The answer is to involve Line Management at the beginging in particular and at every stage including design and development. .Discuss with them the findings from your analysis and outline the effects of the competency gaps and obtain their agreement as to what the right behaviours are that need to encouraged. Use these Managers and Supervisors as your subject matter experts to check the relevancy of your materials. Do not believe that you are the sole repository of good training activities, elicit and listen to their ideas and where possible incorportate them into the training. This will help them feel a sense of ownersip with the training  and will increase their support for it. Furthermore, encourage them to pre- brief their staff before they attend the training event and on return to work after course discuss with the attendees how they can implement what they have learned.

Why not whereaever possible invite them to take part in the training in some -perhaps to open the event or provide closing remarks? With virtual online training this is much easier as they can pop online just for a their segment and even if that is not practical they can record their part and it can be played as part of the event.

In short -It is vital that trainers do not try and attempt to fix competency gaps on their own without connecting with local management and obtaining their support

Influencing and involving Managers is a  key trainer skill, Is this is something you want to know more about? I cover this during my train the trainer courses so why not contact me.and have a chat about how I can help you?