One-Size-Fits-All Training? Don’t Waste Your Money

One-Size-Fits-All Training? Don’t Waste Your Money

It’s amazing the amount of money spent by organizations every year on “training” for employees. A manager gets frustrated with the lack of success within the group and believes training is the answer. Training is expected to solve all kinds of ills — it’s expected to help employees perform more effectively, communicate more clearly and generally improve morale and teamwork. More often than not the training’s ineffective, leaving manager’s to ask, “where’s the training budget going if nothing is changing?”

The missing pieces are pre-training assessment and behavioral understanding. Training simply can’t be delivered without an understanding of what’s really wrong. Managers and leaders assume they need “X” solved but they haven’t really delved into what “X” represents. What is the real need? Where are employees struggling? What problems are they encountering? Without digging in and understanding the real life roadblocks, training will fall on deaf ears.

Take salespeople as an example. Does the fact that the team isn’t meeting its numbers mean that everyone needs basic sales skills training? Well, maybe. But perhaps some need cold calling and qualifying help while others need personal management (time & territory). But how will training like this help if these aren’t the real problems? The assessment may uncover a host of other obstacles — bad compensation plans, customer service or process problems, etc. — that all the training in the world won’t solve unless management corrects them.

Perhaps even more important is the need to understand behavioral preferences and behavioral styles. We’re not all alike — we don’t learn the same way, we don’t communicate the same way and we don’t take the same actions to solve similar problems. So, why do we insist on training people as if they are “one size fits all”? A standard “cookie-cutter” program or approach will certainly work — for a small segment of your population — but not for the majority.

Look across your organization — ever wonder why certain folks are resistant to change? There’s a variety of types you’ll identify. One type you can teach, train, mentor and coach — yet you get the same results. It’s because it’s in their DNA — it’s a behavioral preference to “sameness”. Ever wonder why certain folks get some of the training and can’t wait to get out and implement it and see what works? It’s their behavioral preference to “results”. Ever wonder why certain folks really love the training and the interaction but never seem to try anything new? It’s a behavioral preference to “interaction” and “disorganization”. Our behavioral preferences dictate how we take in the new information and what we do with it.

Training won’t work — it can’t work — without an understanding of behavioral styles and preferences. And it won’t work without truly understanding the needs of the group you are training.

So if you are ready to embark on a training program and you want the money spent to deliver real ROI, take the time and effort to first ensure you have assessed the real requirements of your group and then that you understand the styles and behavioral leanings of the individuals and groups you are training.

It might feel good to spend money on training and finally get a forum where you can “teach” your employees something new but “feeling good” doesn’t last too long when it doesn’t work. You can realize the fruits of meaningful, targeted and actionable training.