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Talent Management Excellence Essentials January 2015

Either way, the individual business and human cases create a compel-ling (and non-negotiable) springboard for learning that will take hold. Engagement The evolving field of brain science has provided invaluable data for learning and development practitioners. MRIs and other technologies reveal best design and development practices. Research confirms what effective trainers have surmised for years: that engaging elements such as movement, variety of methods and activities, dialogue (vs. lecture), and imagery all support greater learn-ing and transfer. How training is scheduled is also a factor. Spacing training over time creates stickier outcomes than a ‘once and done’ implementation. And numerous studies support the efficacy of interleaving (which is essentially cross-training for the mind). Shorter spurts of intermixed content drive greater engagement and results than intensive, repetitive (drill-‘em-‘til-they’ve-got-it-or-they’re-dead) strategies. Leader support It’s not news to anyone who’s offered or attended training that man-agement support plays a pivotal role in the extent to which learning actually transfers to new and different behavior on the job. When leaders model the skills taught, it sends a powerful message. And when they take the time to provide feedback and coaching, employees attach greater significance to what they’ve learned. But, when leaders hold their people accountable for putting new skills into practice, this really puts teeth into the process. In classic research, Taylor et al. (2005) and Longnecker (2004) scientifically measured that learning transfer increases in the presence of accountability. Learning contracts, tracking relevant metrics, and including the use of new skills in performance appraisals all demonstrate a high degree of leader support and encourage training to stick. “As counterintuitive as it may sound, dedicating time during training to explore pitfalls and relapse condi-tions can actually enhance the sense of hopefulness back on the job. Culture of learning Just as important to the stickiness of training is the culture in which employees find themselves trying to use new skills. Do current policies and practices support new behaviors? Are incen-tives and rewards aligned? Is there a system of support among peers and an ongoing dialog around development? Does the organization have a growth mindset or mastery orientation? See this video for a more detailed explanation on what growth mindset and mastery orientation mean: In too many cases, the corporate culture a trainee returns to is not even neutral or benign... it actually discourages people from trying new approaches. If the risks associated with failure exceed the potential benefits of applying new skills, behavior will remain unchanged. But, when there’s a culture that values effort and views failure as a vehicle for learning and growth, employees can get enough experience using what they’ve learned to build new patterns and habits... and in the process, training sticks. Relevance Perhaps the most under-rated of all training stickiness factors is relevance. In an era of resource optimization, it’s easy to adopt a “more butts in the seat is better” mentality with training. It’s easy to figure that since the class is running anyway, let’s fill it with a few others who may need the skills down the line. This “just in case” training that doesn’t support job responsibilities might be interesting, but it’s irrelevant and anything but sticky. You can build learner relevance through any number of strategies: • Timing: Relevance grows exponentially when training is offered just after a challenging situation or failure. People understand on a visceral level the importance of the skill and know how it will help them in the future. • Context: Employees are more motivated to learn and change when they appreciate the connection between what’s being learned and their own performance opportunities or shortcomings. So, timing 360-degree or other feedback tools to precede training can help connect the dots. • Design: The stickiness of learning grows when the knowledge that participants have acquired to date is understood, honored, and acknowledged. New concepts must be related to what’s known. Rehearsal and practice of new skills must be realistic. In this way, learning is relevant to the individual. Optimism Training stickiness depends upon individuals feeling confident that they’ll be successful undertaking new skills or behaviors. So effective training inspires a sense of optimism by allowing for practice under safe conditions and building a sense of comfort with new skills/approaches. As counterintuitive as it may sound, dedicating time during train-ing to explore pitfalls and relapse conditions can actually enhance the sense of hopefulness back on the job. And helping people focus on the difference they have made to others can be a powerful change strategy as well, as discovered by Adam Grant and others. To make training stick, look beyond training design Training stickiness depends upon a variety of factors, many of which go far beyond training design. Put any of these VELCRO elements into practice and you’ll see improvement. Put them all in place, and you’ll see new skills cemented into practice... and an enviable return on your training investment. Your turn: What techniques to do you use to make training stick? ITM This article was originally published on the Halogen TalentSpace blog. Lessons Learned in Making Training Stick Julie Winkle Giulioni has spent the past 25 years improving performance through learning. As co-founder and principal of DesignArounds, Julie leads multi-disciplinary teams that create award-winning electronic and instructor-led training. A sought-after speaker and consultant, Julie is co-author of the Amazon bestseller, Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go: Career Conversa-tions Employees Want. Visit  www.juliewinklegiulioni.com Connect Julie Winkle Giulioni Talent Management excellence essentials presented by HR.com | 01.2015 Submit your Articles 7


Talent Management Excellence Essentials January 2015
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