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Improving training transfer


I attended an event recently at the Australian Institute of Management. The speakers were from the University of WA and the topic covered a recent study on how organisations currently deal with the transfer of training.

During economic down turn businesses tend to cut back on training. However leading business leaders acknowledge that in a downturn they need to beef up skills and training.

There are 3 key reasons for barriers to training transfer:

HR Outcomes – If HR doesn’t have the right attitudes, motivations toward training organisations will not see positive HR outcomes or better organisational performance. 

Organisational Performance Outcomes – If there is no support for the new behaviour then the results won’t be adapted.

Financial Outcomes – If organisations can’t see profit and financial results for the training then it is unlikely to be supported.

So how can you ensure your organisation absorbs more of what is being learned and how can you better motivate employees to transfer what they learn from training?

In the UWA survey, data collected shows that the transfer of knowledge into an organisation is impacted because:

·         Lost knowledge – ie people leave and this knowledge is not captured in the organisation

·         Reinventing the wheel - knowledge only stays in one part of organisation not shared

·         Sticky knowledge - multinational organisations become knowledge silos. Therefore only sticking to one part of organisation

·         Not invented here syndrome – employees are reluctant to accept knowledge that is not invented locally.

There are four key steps to improving the transfer of training into the workplace:

1.     Absorb – Employees and the organisation understand the new knowledge and its importance and relevance.

2.     Sharing – Sharing the new found knowledge to other parts of the organisation.

3.     Applying – Allowing employees to applying their new knowledge by solving problems in the organisation.

4.     Transforming & exploiting – Developing or adjusting organisation procedures, processes, making changes or doing things in a better way based on the new found knowledge/skills.

Typically organisations are good at absorbing and sharing, but are challenged by applying, transforming & exploiting. However organisations who adopt this methodology can capitalise on the training delivered and heighten their ROI.

Of course in order to make this happen the organisation needs to have the desire to do things better, be innovative and break new ground.

Does your organisation apply these four steps to improve your training transfer?

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