This month’s column is Part II of a two-part series. If you haven’t read last issue’s column (Part I), I’d recommend you do so, since it will help put this month’s column into the proper context. I concluded Part I with the statement, “Who’s responsible for ensuring training sticks. Hint – it’s not the training department!” Do you know the answer?
Supervisors Drive Results
Training personnel are responsible for developing curriculum and implementation support tools that help instill into their students the knowledge, skills, confidence and attitudes required to help the organization achieve their business goals. It is supervisors, however, not trainers, who are responsible for ensuring that the knowledge, skills, confidence and attitudes obtained in the learning environment (classroom or online) are applied in the workplace. Supervisors drive training application. After all, it is supervisors who are in the stores on a day-to-day basis, not the trainers, and it is the supervisors who are responsible for the job performance of store personnel. And, who benefits most directly from increased employee productivity as a result of training? That’s right, supervisors. What’s the scorecard? – the P&L. So does this mean that the training department is off the hook in terms of responsibility once the students leave the classroom and are handed-off to the supervisors? Not if training departments want to continue to be funded and remain relevant in the eyes of management. Training departments need to prove their value to the organization not by the meaningless metrics of number of people trained or the number of courses offered. This is referred to as “Checklist Training.” Training departments need to get their heads in the game and focus on how they can improve business results – “moving the needle” as we like to say at Convenience Store Coaches. Moving the business needle is what is on the CEO’s radar, not the number training programs offered.
Expectations & Alignment
CEOs, director of operations, supervisors and the training department need to be tightly aligned, just like the links in a chain. Training departments need to have a meaningful “seat at the table” when it comes to the upfront work of being included in the development of the organizations goals and objectives, and the strategies and tactics that follow. All too often, the training department is brought into the picture on the back-end, once the strategies have already been developed. By understanding upfront what the organization is trying to achieve, training departments can ask important questions that can help them develop the right kind of training and tools.
ü Why are we doing this? (what’s the business case)
ü What is the evidence that we need to do this?
ü What will success look like?
ü What are the critical-behaviors that students must demonstrate back on the job to prove that the training was successful?
ü What must supervisors do in order to ensure that these critical-behaviors are in fact being demonstrated on the job by the students?
ü What are the consequences (good and bad) if the students don’t demonstrate the critical-behaviors and the supervisors don’t drive the process?
ü What are the metrics to measure that students are consistently demonstrating the critical-behaviors and that supervisors are doing their part in managing and coaching these critical-behaviors?
ü Will these critical-behaviors become part of the student’s and supervisor’s performance appraisal?
Ø If the answer is no, respond, “Then why are we wasting our time and resources?”
ü What are the expectations? (CEO, Director of Operations, Supervisors)
Having a face-to-face conversation with all key stakeholders upfront before any training takes place will ensure a greater degree of buy-in, commitment, identification of roles, responsibilities, and consequences, and best of all, improved ROI. Success in any endeavor, when it involves several stakeholders is always greater when there is alignment. When the CEO, director of operations, supervisors, and trainers are connected at the hip (aligned), results happen.