Protect Your Training Investment from the Birds

April 13, 2016

One morning while on vacation, Wendy and I went through the resort’s buffet line for breakfast. We got our food, set it down at a table by the pool and then left the table for about four minutes to get our beverages and talk to a fellow guest. 

When we returned, our breakfast was being ravaged by local birds. Eggs, potatoes, bread and fruit were being eaten, tossed about and generally destroyed. Other guests were sitting nearby, but they were unconcerned and not trying to protect our food. 

A metaphor formed before our eyes. Similar to how Wendy and I did not protect our food, many organizations do little or nothing to protect their training investments. 

The majority of an L&D department’s time and resources is allocated for live and virtual training, and for evaluation at Kirkpatrick Levels 1 (Reaction) and 2 (Learning). Trainers’ plates are filled not with eggs, toast and fruit, but with activities associated with formal training. This investment is not ravaged by birds of the air, but by outdated stakeholder beliefs and ineffective L&D practices on the ground. 

There is often little, if any, effort made to develop and execute a performance support package. Little effort is made to evaluate how well on-the-job application is doing besides a benign 90-day survey. Little is done to identify barriers to application, and even less is done to identify early adopters and top performers.

When the accomplishments of training go unprotected, as much as 70% of actual application and subsequent results erode away. None of us can afford that. We must do all that we can to maximize the investment and trust that have been put into funding, developing, delivering and attending training so that Level 3 and 4 benefits are seen from Level 1 and 2 efforts

For Wendy and I, it simply meant going back to the buffet for more food and not leaving it unattended. For our industry, this means purposeful planning not only for training, but for a follow-up package that includes components of support and accountability.

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Additional Resources:

Kirkpatrick Four Levels® Evaluation Certification Program – Bronze Level

Training on Trial

Don’t Let Level 2 Wreck Your Training Efforts

What Would Don Kirkpatrick Suggest Doing to Maximize Program Outcomes?

Evaluation Tips from the Tropics #1: A Storm Is Brewing

Evaluation Tips from the Tropics #2: Wendy’s Trapeze Adventure

Are You a Company Ambassador, or Just a Trainer?

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