Training staff the right way

As a training administrator it is impossible to ensure that every training initiative or learning intervention will yield results. Or is it? Training specialist Sharon Lefkowitz shares her insights from the 2 day Effective Training Administration short course hosted by Alusani Skills and Training Network.

The skills development journey of every employee should begin on the first day of employment according to human resources and training specialist Sharon Lefkowitz. This is not to say that every new employee should be selected for training, however employees should be assessed on their level of skills from the moment they enter the organisation.

Traditionally the line manager is responsible for initiating this assessment while “HR provides the methodology?. In other words HR conducts the assessments, identifies the skills gap, and develops a personal development plan based on the profile “but the line manager makes the final decisions? on training interventions.

This assessment is not meant to be a once off event. “Progress should be tracked on an ongoing basis through feedback on performance? says Lefkowitz.

There is a difference between an employee who is able to perform their job and chooses not too and an employee who is ill-equipped to do a task yet has the willingness to learn. This distinction is established during the performance review process. Lefkowitz recommends the Mager and Pipe model when conducting a gap analysis or needs assessment.

During the course Lefkowitz reiterates that administrators should determine “the learning outcomes that need to be achieved? before deciding on the training says Lefkowitz. “For example an employee who works on the switchboard may be adept at greeting clients or managing calls yet fail miserably at handling difficult customers?. In this instance learning to deal with difficult clients is the specific learning outcome that will enable the employee to exceed in their job.

The 2 day course hosted by Alusani Skills and Training Network provides practical tips on how to narrow down the training that is really needed, and so managers are able to eliminate unnecessary training, time and money.

“External training programmes are not always the answer? or the “panacea for all ills? cautions Lefkowitz. On the job training, mentoring, job shadowing and coaching are some are alternatives that can work just as well. It all depends on the needs of the individual and organisation. This is particularly important to consider when companies cannot afford to lose operational hours.

E-learning has become a popular alternative in the training industry due to its low cost and convenience, “but it does not replace face -to-face learning? advises Lefkowitz. Therefore a “blended approach? with a combination of learning methodologies is best.

Managers are known to employ “blanket training? which is incidentally one of the biggest training blunders. This occurs when managers randomly select employees to attend the first available training course. This is usually the result of poor planning or due to pressures to fulfil annual training targets or spend allocated budgets. “Training that is not directly correlated to the job requirements are a waste of time and money?.

Lefkowitz highlights three factors to consider when choosing a training provider. “Establish if the provider is accredited, review the training methodology to ensure there are a combination of learning methods being used and don?t bother with providers who don?t customize.? she says. A tailor made training programme is one of the keys to success.

Sharon Lefkowitz has worked in all areas of HR however her expertise lies in the human resources training and development sphere of HR. Her vast experience in strategic planning, training needs analysis and training delivery makes her the ideal candidate to present the Effective Training Administration course for Alusani Skills and Training Network.

Boost your career in training by attending this 2-day practical course that focuses on the very latest thinking and best practices for Effective Training Administration. The workshop will run 10 and 11 November 2011 in Johannesburg, for more information call 011 447 7470, email or visit Alusani Skills and Training Network

By Cindy Payle

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