Summer 2009
kate and stacyWe have been thinking about training a lot these days.  While some people view change management and communication as one-and-the-same, we know there is more to getting people ready, willing, and able to behave in new ways than just a good communication plan.  Along with engagement strategies, organization designs, and many other change management tactics, training is an important lever to help people change their behavior.
If you are thinking about learning more about change management yourself, take a look at our Best Practices in Driving Organizational Change CBT that has just been released.  The CBT provides a great foundation in change management.  We think you will like it.
Lastly, we've got another Change Agent Certification coming up in September. The Certification Program is designed to give participants the resources and knowledge to confidently apply change management principles and tools in their own organizations.  All the while gaining continuing education credits from HRCI (Human Resource Certification Institute)! 
Enjoy the newsletter and, as usual, drop us a line and let us know what you think!  E-mail Feedback.
All the best,
Kate and Stacy
Is Computer Based Training Right for You and Your Organization?

Over the past year, we've seen many customers asking for a computer based training option. Clients clearly understand the benefits of trained employees but they struggle to schedule training into their employees' full day. One option to sending someone to a classroom is to purchase a computer based training course on CD. According to a report by the Learning Resources Network, Computer-based training with no live instructor accounts for 13 percent of training and is expected to grow.


Benefits of computer based training include:


  • The per employee cost is usually less than attending a class with an instructor
  • Travel time and costs are eliminated
  • The employee can review the material at his or her own pace and time
  • It allows the employee to repeat and review the course material as needed


Challenges and downsides include:


  • The office is not an ideal learning environment since there are many ways to be interrupted
  • There is no instructor to ask questions
  • There aren't any peers to learn from or converse with
  • Not all employees have easy access to a computer


Although there are challenges, companies are expanding the use of computer or web based learning. It shouldn't replace all classroom training but it provides a viable option when funds and time are limited. Check out our new CBT on Change Management Best Practices.

It's After the Training That Counts

According to Training Magazine's annual industry report, organizations in the United States spent $55.8 billion on training in 2006 which translates to $1,273 per employee, up from $955 per employee the previous year. Obviously, companies are getting the message that training is important. Yet, training is not an end in and of itself. I believe the true test of whether a company values training and learning is what happens after the training.


Picture this - An employee just returned from training. It's Bob. He learned a lot of great new tools and processes to apply to the business. On the day he returns from training, Bob is motivated and excited to apply what he's learned. Do you think if I called him six months later that motivation and excitement would still be there? It may not. There are a lot of cultural and internal forces that inhibit the application of new ideas, knowledge and approaches learned in a training session. Of all the forces, the trainee's boss has the most influence on whether that knowledge will be used or not.


To best leverage the knowledge gained by training, several things should happen. The trainee needs his or her boss to listen and be open to the newly learned ideas and approaches. The boss needs to encourage the use of the new knowledge and tools. The boss needs to hold that employee accountable, including in his review questions such as, "what have you applied or done differently." Lastly, the boss needs to recognized and reward that employee for using their new knowledge.


An exchange I recently witnessed demonstrates the influence a boss can have. Ten managers in charge of driving new improvements and processes into the business attended a one day training. The managers were enthusiastic about the new ideas, processes and tools they'd learned and were eager to start applying them. At the end of the day, their Vice President came in to see how they were doing. As they introduced their new found knowledge and ideas on what to do, the VP calmly and studiously shot each idea and each person in the group down, one by one. He talked to them for 45 minutes about why their suggested approaches wouldn't work (even though they were basing their suggestions on best practices). He sent the message that you can come to training but don't try anything new.


I'm not saying it is impossible for managers to use their new ideas without their boss' support. It is just harder. For this group, I did see a few glimmers of hope from some very determined individuals. One said, "I'll use this approach in my small area, show others my success and then expand it as I am promoted over time". Another outright disagreed later when the VP was not within earshot but I could tell that she wasn't sure how things would go. Another trainee totally fell under the VP's spell, "I see what you are saying, none of what we've learned really applies to our situation," he said. Another one bites the dust even before he's left the training room. I know that the VP didn't intend to crush their newfound knowledge but his approach was one of telling, not listening. His message to them was, '"that's nice but let me give you the right answers".


Training is about empowering others with knowledge and new approaches. The rubber meets the road when that knowledge is taken back into the day to day work world. Is it embraced, crushed, forgotten? Bottom line - it's expensive to send people to training, not only in dollars but in time away from the job. Doesn't it make sense to embrace the learning so that you can get a return on your investment?

Q&A: In Your Shoes
molly dejesus



Molly de Jesus, SPHR   
Human Resources Consultant   




What advice do you have for others trying to drive change?


I would advise others trying to drive change to make communication with employees a top priority. Engagement of employees at all levels through effective communication is essential to drive change. Employees need to be able to trust those leading change. Trust can grow through open, direct and truthful communication that is delivered often. I suggest using the following guideless when crafting messages that are intended to gain support and drive change:

employees messages that are clear and easy to understand. Be direct. Take a thoughtful approach when designing talking points. Explain how change can impact the long term success of the organization. Link messages about change to achievement of strategic business objectives.

R --
Have REALISTIC expectations. Change is difficult and employees often feel threatened and stressed even by the simplest changes. Expect that initially there may be resistance. Anticipate, embrace and discuss concerns with employees. This will demonstrate that you are employee focused, and that everyone in the organization plays an important role in driving change.

the content of your message. Be a credible speaker. For example, if change could impact the structure of the organization, the design of a process, or the future of a product/service, be prepared to speak to what is being considered. Invite experts to deliver communication with you in order to strengthen your message and credibility.


E -- ENGAGE your listeners. Be prepared to encourage dialogue, questions and follow up. Invite employees to participate in focus groups, idea generation sessions and work teams. Employees are wonderful resources for gaining feedback on the design and clarity of messages. Finally, invite employees to communicate success stories and project outcomes.

What one thing has helped you the most in driving change in your organization?


Working with leaders who are innovative and willing to take risks has helped me the most in driving change. Leaders who embrace new ideas energize members of the organization, from executive management to front line employees.

In This Issue
Is Computer Based Training Right for You and Your Organization?
It's After the Training That Counts
Q&A: In Your Shoes
Change Guides News
Computer Based Training Program
Best Practices In Driving Organizational Change

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