Why don’t we learn from the tons of research out there about training effectiveness? You would think that we would have learned our lessons by now. But it doesn’t seem so. There are still lots of Training Specialists, Training & Development Coordinators and even T&D Managers who are repeating the same “dumb” mistakes. How do I know? Because I’ve talked to a number of them. The way that some of them use their training budgets is a sad testament to the fact that they somehow believe that objective numbers actually will make a difference to any training program, that they somehow add credibility and value to the training dollars or pounds spent. Wrong!
But those numbers sure do look good; they impress senior managers when you present them. So let’s take a look at some of those numbers that are used to justify how well we spend our training budget:
- Average number of training pounds spent on each employee.
- Average number of courses each employee has taken.
- Average number of satisfaction rating on training evaluations.
Actually there is nothing fundamentally wrong with these numbers. The problem is that there is no connection between these numbers and the quality and effectiveness of your training program or any training program for that matter. Let’s discuss each of the numbers separately and see why these numbers can be meaningless at best and dangerous at worst.
Average Number of Training Pounds Spent on Each Employee: The traditional wisdom is that the larger this number, the more chance that employees will develop better work skills, that training is seen as important to the company, that employees are being treated fairly. For this last one, some people believe that fairness means being treated the same. So some T&D professionals pride themselves on advertising that the same amount of money is basically spent on each person. Does this then mean that everyone has the same level of training needs? Of course not! We know that!
The amount of money you have to spend in your training budget does not mean anything except that you are lucky to have the money, considering the financial situation the country is in. We need to use it wisely. The mathematical average that we get from dividing the total training budget by the number of employees who receive training is exactly just that: a number. It means nothing really!
Average Number of Courses Each Employee Has Taken: Considering that research from many different sources shows that trainees will forget about 50% of the content of stand-alone, regular training courses within 2 days, do we really want to feel proud of the number of courses an employee has taken. What will he/she remember after 2 weeks? How were the courses selected? Were they the best courses for him/her?
Average Number of Satisfaction Rating on “Smiley Sheets” Training Evaluations: Sure it’s great to see good numbers on these. So what we know is that the trainer is happy, the T&D people are happy and the trainees are happy. But if we are not checking what’s behind the happiness (what are they really walking away with? what can they do after the training that they could not do before), then once again the numbers don’t mean anything much. They could have simply loved the trainer (he was funny, kind, organized, he made it fun) but it doesn’t mean that the training will help them do their jobs any better.
SOME STEPS IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
So if these numbers are useless, then what should we be doing?
- Only train competent, motivated employees. Don’t waste your precious funds on incapable and disengaged employees. Research shows that they usually remain incompetent and unmotivated! Find why they are incompetent and why they are unmotivated and then decide what to do.
- Make sure that all courses are tied back to the business objectives of your company. Do not select any courses that you cannot directly relate back to your business plan or strategic goals or operational excellence.
- Make sure that each course has at least one targeted competency. Even if you don’t have competencies in your company, use your professional judgment and choose those competencies that will help your company succeed in your market sector. Then go one step further and list the specific targeted behaviors that the course will be focused on producing in the trainees.
- Use the Pareto Principle to prioritize your training budget. This is a very controversial point for many. Here is how Pareto 80/20 rule can work:
- 80% of your training budget should be focused on helping you achieve your priorities in terms of your business objectives (top 20%). By the way you may choose to change your priority from quarter to quarter as you see results in certain areas.
- 80% of your training budget should be focused on improving the skills of your top 20% performers. It is good ROI and relatively easy to move very good employees to the excellent level and to keep excellent ones performing at a very high level. Invest here!
- 20% of your training budget should go towards improving the remaining 80% of your employees. It is very difficult and sometimes not worth it to spend a lot of energy and money improving weak employees. Identify a few key areas (2-3 max) that would give most valuable workplace results and concentrate only on those.
- 80% of your training budget should be focused on improving the 20% of your operations that bring in most revenue, best service, reduce most cost or waste. You never have enough money to improve areas. Better to impact a few areas in depth than to impact many areas in a superficial way.
- 20% of your budget should be used to improve non-priority areas of your operations.
Keep looking at the bigger picture. Be strategic.
Just remember that numbers are only valid if they represent valid concepts. Let’s not use them to rationalize training programs that are not strategically thought-out, that have no real bearing on the 3 company’s business objectives, that are selected based on their attractiveness or newness, like the items from a restaurant menu.
As professionals, we should ask ourselves these critical questions: Where is the company going? What type of skills do employees need to take it there? Do they have those skills? Which of these skills will the training budget be focused on impacting?
By: Dr. Rita Maselli-Boucicaut
This article is a product of a writing competition organized by Global HR Forum & HR Revolution Middle-East Magazine. Dr. Rita Maselli-Boucicaut won the first place in the HR Writer Competition. Judging Panel: Mahmoud Mansi, Dina Marei, Alia Faramawi, Ahmed Saadalla, Nada Adel Sobhi. General Coordinator: Ms. Nour Elzeny.
Photography: Ahmed Samir
About the Author: Dr. Rita is the Managing Director of RitaMaselli & Associates, a Management and HR consultancy founded in Cairo, Egypt in 2009 www.rmaselli-associates.com. Dr. Rita specializes in Change Management, ROI, KPIs, Crises Management Training, Competency-Based HR, TNA Automated Tools, Performance Mgt and Attitudes Training and Coaching. She has lived/studied/worked in Italy, North America, Latin America and since 2002 the Middle East. She has a PHD in Management specialized in Change Management; and MA in Leadership/Supervision specialized in women leaders and gender management.
Being a Certified L&D Manager – Middle Earth HR
Written By: Mahmoud Mansi
Learning and Development (L&D) as a function and a department, has become a leading role in the development, sustainability and product competitive advantage of any organization.
Learning and development is not the main purpose anymore, yet it has become more about “continuous learning and development”. The Certified Learning and Development Manager Certification Program (CLDM) offered by Middle Earth HR (MEHR) provides efficiency, vision, direction and sustainability to L&D Leaders by focusing on “competency mapping” which directly impacts corporate development, business sustainability and the product innovation.
The course focuses entirely on “competency mapping” and what follows for several reasons, and this is done through MEHR-CAMI CLDM Model. Based on the model, competency mapping is the heart of learning and development with four layers dependent on the core of the model which are simultaneously: competency assessment, developmental planning and design, developmental evaluation, and the management buy-in.
The 5 sequential areas of knowledge of the MEHR-CAMI CLDM Model empowers L&D leaders to focus on what matters, firstly by being able to review job descriptions, define the competencies of each job, creating a job element for each role with threshold and differentiating skills and knowledge.
MEHR instructors are originally consultants in the field who have lots of case studies, stories and examples to tell, in addition to excellent attention to each delegate and their sense of humor which makes the course engaging and fun.
Unlike most certifications in the industry, the final assessment is not based on exam, instead a comprehensive project about Learning & Development as the entire program consists of a 40-hour learning process with 16 hours of workshop and 24 hours of guided project. The project is a reflection on the delegate’s action plan in the organization he/she already works at. After the submission of the project and delegate receives a full feedback report on the project, the certification, and is ready to plug-in and apply in his/her organization.
Who is recommended to attend the CLDM Certification Program?
- Learning and Development or Training Manager
- HR Business Partner
- Human Capital Consultant
- HR Director
- Trainer / Learning Consultant
To know more details about the CLDM certification please visit the following link:
Building an Agile Culture: The only way Forward
Written By: Hanane Benkhallouk
The coronavirus has already rewritten the future of business. With the spread of the pandemic not slowing down any time soon, business leaders find themselves scrambling to find solutions to a host of problems, from bottlenecks in the supply chain to miscommunication between departments.
The outbreak of the coronavirus demands that business owners respond quickly to the growing number of challenges by using the latest technologies and out of the box strategies for sustainable business operations. Keeping that in mind, here are some useful tips for businesses that are building an agile culture to adapt to the new normal in business.
Design Data for Informational Hierarchy
Information is an important component of any business process. Since employees are no longer operating in-house, the chances of miscommunication are two-fold. To avoid that, business leaders need to design information based on informational hierarchy and the channels that are going to be used. This will result in better clarity and a higher level of transparency.
As a business leader, you need to be aware of the information that is being sent to various subgroups within an organization and how they will process that information. This is crucial when it comes to getting a solution that’s beneficial for all parties involved. Efficient business leaders are those who are able to deliver the right information by utilizing the right set of tools at the right time.
It is important to note as a business leader that you should never operate on assumptions or under the illusion that your decisions or intentions are clear to the management and the employees. This is why it is important that business leaders use a human-centric approach by considering how information is consumed and by avoiding ways that will foster misinformation in the ranks.
In the future, business owners will have to create an information hierarchy for the effective transmission of the desired information. Business leaders have to be careful when delivering information. The information needs to be clear and actionable and followed by the required details to avoid any panic or confusion.
Sending long-winded emails is the perfect example of what not to do and will only lead to further confusion or panic. During these stressful times, it is important for business leaders not to just focus on what your staff cannot do, but rather, empower them by informing them on what they can do during this pandemic.
Governments are showing how this can be done by sharing daily updates with its citizens as the pandemic evolves. By understanding how their audience would react to the information, governments have been careful not to spread panic. Similarly, businesses need to employ such transparency to build trust in their employees and stakeholders.
Rewards and Incentives
Rewards and incentives have been an effective way of building an agile culture in the workplace. But, the recent outbreak and the regulations that have come along with it makes it difficult for companies to adhere to their traditional methods of rewarding their employees. Measures such as social distancing mean that businesses are no longer operating with in-house employees, which makes rewarding deserving employees even harder.
The first challenge is that employees find it harder to feel the tangible rewards for their contributions. This may result in many employees thinking that their efforts do not make an impact, or their behavioral change of following social distancing has not made a difference. Since we as humans do not react well to delayed gratification, when someone who has stayed isolated in their homes and doesn’t see a change in the numbers of infected, that can significantly decrease their motivation.
It is up to companies to encourage their employees by building reward structures according to the new changes. In this way, a reward structure can be an effective tool that can be used to incentivize employees during this time of social isolation. The rewards that you use can be intrinsic or extrinsic, but in putting such a system in place, you can make a positive change in the dynamics of the ecosystems in which your employees operate.
When it comes to the type of reward or incentive that organizations can use while building an agile culture, businesses can use gamification or monetization, or use social rewards to incentivize their employees even during this time of working remotely. All of these types of rewards can be utilized as a response to the recent coronavirus outbreak to make employees feel a sense of appreciation even without any physical contact and while following social distancing requirements.
While working on problem-solving during the coronavirus outbreak can be difficult, it still remains an essential component of a business. Although social distancing has made it difficult for management and colleagues to stay connected while working remotely, staying connected is key for business success.
Staying connected, in this case, is having the tools to communicate efficiently with a workforce regardless of geographical constraints. While there are many companies that are privy to using various technologies to stay connected with their workforce on the ground, in a post coronavirus working environment, more companies will need to adapt to these changes.
It is important for business owners to use creativity and empathy when it comes to addressing the issues of staying connected during social distancing, mainly because the decisions that are made today can have long-term implications for the company. While it might not be easy to make some unpopular decisions, it is crucial for business leaders to use a human centric approach towards maintaining streamlined communication between their employees and all other stakeholders during these circumstances.
LA CULTURA DIGITALE AZIENDALE E I SUOI LEADER CORAGGIOSI. LA SOCIETA’ DI MARKETING DIGITALE ITALIANA “DERAWEB” COME ESEMPIO DI ECCELLENZA NELLA GESTIONE DELLE RISORSE UMANE
INTERVIEWER: Cinzia Nitti
HR Revolution: Ciao Fabio, grazie per aver accettato la nostra intervista e per quanto vorrai condividere con noi. Cominciamo: chi è Fabio De Lucia?
Fabio De Lucia: Ciao e grazie per questa intervista. Sono nato il 21 marzo del 1986 e il percorso accademico mi ha qualificato come perito commerciale con il massimo dei voti. Dopo la maturità e coerentemente con il mio approccio pratico alla vita, trovavo inefficace continuare a studiare per qualcosa di “non-tangibile”, quindi sono partito per Parigi e una volta rientrato, ho trovato impiego presso un’agenzia viaggi nel 2005. Ho iniziato a interessarmi a piani di sviluppo per implementare e migliorare i prodotti offerti. Credevo in quello che facevo ma, non trovando riscontro positivo da parte del mio titolare, ho rassegnato le dimissioni. All’epoca conoscevo già il mio caro amico e colui che sarebbe diventato il mio socio, Andrea (Dettole), il quale lavorava nel settore utilities nel nord Italia. Unendo le nostre conoscenze e competenze, nel 2008 abbiamo avviato Sundera, azienda di vendita servizi Business To Business (o B2B) e assistenza nel campo delle utilities: mi occupavo principalmente dei piani di sviluppo commerciale.
HR Revolution: Come nasce la web agency Deraweb e quale la sua mission?
Fabio De Lucia: Dall’esperienza positiva pregressa, nel 2016 abbiamo deciso di fondare con Andrea la società di marketing digitale Deraweb, brand partner della primogenita Sundera. L’impreparazione dei titolari di partita IVA in fatto di marketing e digitalizzazione dei prodotti aziendali – riscontrata a livello nazionale – è stato il fattore chiave che ha dato vita a Deraweb. La nostra azienda ha l’obiettivo di fornire strumenti efficaci per lo sviluppo aziendale in prospettiva di promozione digitale. In quattro anni il nostro pacchetto clienti è cresciuto in tutta Italia e su piano internazionale, acquisendo 600 clienti e con proiezione di raggiungere quota mille entro fine anno. La famiglia Deraweb conta oggi 15 dipendenti e 20 consulenti.
HR Revolution: Le Risorse Umane sono le componenti-chiave per il successo imprenditoriale. Il COVID-19 ha inevitabilmente imposto un cambiamento degli equilibri nella gestione aziendale. Come avete affrontato la sfida in fatto di nuovi assetti, ripianificazione e gestione del personale?
Fabio De Lucia: Il nostro metodo operativo prevede la maggior parte del lavoro da remoto. Gli strumenti digitali dunque, si sono confermati lo strumento indispensabile nel nostro lavoro; la pandemia è stata un elemento positivo in fatto di consolidamento di Deraweb. Si è trattato di un periodo di transizione per tutti. Nonostante uno stop forzato per alcuni e il crollo degli incassi nel mese di marzo, i nostri dipendenti si sono messi a completa disposizione dell’azienda, dei clienti, contribuendo in modo non indifferente alla buona riuscita degli intenti. Ci sono stati tutti vicini. Sono stati bravi e vanno tutti elogiati per questo.
HR Revolution: Cultura Digitale Aziendale: la risoluzione di problemi attraverso l’utilizzo di strumenti digitali si è rivelata un elemento vincente nella gestione del pacchetto-clienti durante la crisi pandemica?
Fabio De Lucia: Da titolari di azienda, nel supporto ai clienti e per una gestione ottimale dei servizi offerti, abbiamo deciso di operare in modo differente rispetto ai concorrenti. Abbiamo fornito gli strumenti necessari alla “sopravvivenza pandemica” con metodo studiato e mirato, soprattutto gratuito. In che modo? Creando manuali, guide strategiche “BUSINESS WORKOUT”, webinar e consulenze gratuite a disposizione dei clienti per evitare il fenomeno dell’inazione. Non a caso, il feedback è stato assolutamente positivo: abbiamo rafforzato il rapporto di reciprocità e fiducia con i nostri clienti, premiando inoltre coloro i quali hanno rispettato le scadenze in un periodo tanto complesso, fornendo un’estensione gratuita di un mese del servizio. Quest’approccio ci ha permesso di registrare risultati esponenzialmente più alti nel nostro ambito, a dispetto delle previsioni che la condizione economica generale avrebbe imposto.
HR Revolution: Spesso si pone l’accento sulla fidelizzazione del cliente, sottovalutando che la riuscita di un progetto o l’acquisizione di un contratto, derivi da un’ottima commistione di professionalità ed energie di un gruppo omogeneo e coeso. Dicci di più del tuo team. Sono importanti la Diversità e l’Inclusione in Deraweb e perché?
Fabio De Lucia: Assolutamente sì, per noi Diversità e Inclusione sono importanti. E rendono Deraweb un ambiente stimolante: il clima aziendale assume il giusto equilibrio tra competenze, rispetto delle qualità di ognuno e dimensione umana. Abbiamo messo in atto un modello di leadership che ispira gli altri e invoglia a migliorarsi. Dal consulente commerciale al servizio clienti, ai tecnici grafici, addetti marketing, comunicazione e social media, l’elemento della formazione continua inoltre, ha permesso di stabilire la gestione dei progetti in cui, senza più necessità di definizione esplicita, ogni membro del gruppo conosce esattamente il suo ruolo all’interno del processo.
C’è fiducia e stima reciproca, spirito di sacrificio e altrettanta collaborazione. Da parte nostra c’è attenzione alle proposte di ognuno. Il mio lavoro mi ha dato modo di visitare tante aziende e conoscere altre realtà, ma qui da noi c’è un clima diverso, un clima che piace e che permette di lavorare secondo un equilibrio che dimostra quanto i nostri ragazzi siano “allineati”: in Deraweb proprio non riesce ad arrivare qualcuno che non abbia i nostri stessi valori.
HR Revolution: La Parità di Genere è un obiettivo di rilievo in una realtà aziendale. Definiresti l’equilibrio di genere parte integrante del vostro successo?
Fabio De Lucia: Sì, le donne nella nostra azienda sono un valore aggiunto e particolarmente apprezzate. Hanno un approccio naturalmente diverso all’ascolto del cliente e alla gestione di una richiesta. Sempre attente ai dettagli, precise, sicuramente meno impulsive in fatto creativo rispetto agli uomini. È una scelta aziendale mirata, quella di impostare gruppi di lavoro misti: sono la sintesi perfetta che genera stabilità. In Italia si parla troppo poco di Parità di Genere sul posto di lavoro, noi invece siamo ben felici di dare possibilità di crescita e carriera alle nostre dipendenti, mamme incluse! Sono tutte ben accolte, troviamo che siano una risorsa irrinunciabile e grande indice di maturità nel nostro team. Da sempre puntiamo su piani di sviluppo aziendale assolutamente paritari; la famiglia Deraweb è un gruppo eterogeneo che ha fatto anche di questo equilibrio un punto di forza.
Grazie Fabio per averci aperto le porte di Deraweb e condiviso con HR Revolution Middle East, l’esempio positivo di una realtà aziendale solida che ha fatto delle Risorse Umane il suo motivo di orgoglio!
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