All of us have received training; different forms of training concerning many different subjects and skills. In all liklihood, some of it was very, very good, while much of it was likely mediocre or worse, often much worse. We've all seen what works and what doesn't work, and for this reason, each of us has some rather firm ideas of what constitutes good training and what makes for poor training practices.
What many people fail to realize, is that training is only one way to improve human performance on the job. Frequently, training is not even the preferred way to improve the performance of employees at work, because there are many other means and methods to impart the needed knowledge and skills, and training is only one of these.
This is why we would never advocate a training approach to address a performance requirement that could more efficiently be met by other means. Our preference would always be to integrate the required human performance elements and characteristics into the work process itself. This is very often the best way to make excellence reproducible, even when a novice employee is on the job. In such cases, we can research, design, develop, test and deploy an expert system that naturally systematizes the ideal job requirements within the means and methods used to do the work at hand.
Very often though, this degree of sophistication is not necessary, if the requirements can be distilled down into a simple set of instructions or even a job aid of some kind. Instruction sets and well-designed job aids can seamlessly and efficiently integrate requirements with performance, in a way that can improve overall process efficiency, productivity and quality by leaps and bounds. Sometimes, the best way to do this is with something like a heuristic matrix, a decision tree or even something as simple as a checklist. Indeed, when done right, a 'good-ole' checklist can even save lives.
For these reasons, we would never undertake something as complex or expensive as 'classroom training' when on-the-job training can accomplish what is necessary. Nor would we undertake such training when another kind of simpler and less expensive method can be used more effectively. What we will do - always - is only what is necessary in order to improve the performance of your employees, with the least fuss and bother possible, in order to obtain the greatest benefit from your most valuable assets - your human assets.
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