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Post-training Action Plans

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We run a three stage Management Development Programme, with approximately 18 month gaps between each stage. After each stage, delegates agree personal action plans, which should be reviewed with their line managers. I'm looking for suggestions from other training departments on how they monitor and ensure that this type of follow up actually happens.
Pamela Sneddon

8 Responses

  1. Making follow ups happen
    The question is, who’s responsibility is it? Should the training department chase managers to ensure the reviews happen or is it the managers’ (and delegates’) responsibilty to make them happen? Generally, managers understand the benefits of a pre-course briefing but are slower to pick up the importance of a review.

    We’ve tried to encourage managers to take responsibility for it by showing them the benefits of reviewing – making them “want” to do it as much as possible – in conjunction with a reminder from us. The stats we use are that without a review people forget 70% of what they’ve learned but with a review they remember 80%.

    I don’t think this is the only system (or necessarily the best) so I’d be interested in others’ experience…

  2. ideas
    I agree with all of what Steve Smith says.
    An approach I used in a company I used to work for was to make line managers pay for training courses for their departments – therby making training a cost to their business plan. Training department becomes a profit centre and managers should be more conscious of the cost of wasted training. Some people would argue that this is the wrong approach as the desire to complete action plans should come from the delegates. Fair point also. Would managers pay for the training in the first place??
    Another angle is to question the validity of the action plans in the first place, who are they set with – is it the training department or the line managers. Setting action plans with line mgrs can get the buy in of line mgrs as well as delegates – especially if development of subordinates is built into appraisal system and culture of the company.

    We are currently training a large sales force for a client and we send out bi-monthly questionnaires to all the line managers to ask for feedback on the action plans of their subordinates. This has the support of the senior team in the company and is paying dividends – bit it is hard work.

  3. Line managers and post-training
    Basically I feel that post-training activities, eg the implementation of action plans is SOLELY the responsibility of the line manager. They sent the learner to improve so that thier operations can improve and usually the cost of this training comes from their budget. I feel the place to start is to ensure that senior management understand the implications of the line managers failing in their responsibilities. Also an educative ‘attack’ on line managers as a whole. If all fais, I would like to say ‘trainer forget it’, but we have principles and AS A VERY LAST RESORT the traner should become involved. Validation of the training should be done before the lerner leaves the programme so you should know whether or not (surely not ‘not’!) the training has been successful.
    Hard but a fact of life when trainers are hard-pressed people.

  4. LEAP Plans
    Tieing the whole system together so it’s clear can also be helpful and also reminding line managers what they should do, here is a system we developed at Woodland Grange.

    LEAP = LEarning & APplication

    Before they attend training candidates complete LEAP 1 = Why am I attending this course? Where in my job will I be able to use it?

    During the training they complete LEAP 2 = What have I learnt? Where could it be used in my job?

    At the end of the training their line manager recieves LEAP 3 plus copies of the LEAP 2 documents = The line managers use these to review what the candidates have learnt and agreeing objectives for the future.

    Finaly, 3 months later the line manager recieves LEAP 4 = How has your candidate gone on? Have they been able to apply anything they learnt?

    If you want a detailed breakdown of this system send me an e mail: [email protected]

    1. Hello Garry,
      Hello Garry,
      Tried sending you an email on the ID you’ve provided but i suppose it doesn’t exist after 18 years ūüėÄ
      wanted to ask how is Leap 3 different from Leap 2. what exactly is asked in Leap 3 document.
      thanks

  5. Plan for follow-up
    Follow-up – we get managers to agree objectives and re-entry arrangements with people before the learning event and then ask them to return to those questions afterwards. When it works, it works well but not every manager finds the time.
    I also went on an accelerated learnnig course where the course leader got everyone to write themsleves a postcard about their follow-up plan. He posted them to us about 3 months later.

  6. Using TeleForums
    Pre arranged TeleForums at which each participant reports back to the group what has happened back on the job and what they have learned is a cost effective and easy way to keep the learning group’s committment and follow through. No one wants to report they have done nothing and learned nothing.

  7. Commitment to change
    Unfortunately employees are often sent on training courses with very little consideration given to the desired outcome – and whether the same outcome is desired by both employee and employer…

    To actually implement a personal action/development plan requires a real commitment to change and the ability to track and measure progress. The latter means that the action plan needs to contain very specific goals and milestones (eg perhaps SMART goals) as well as clearly identifying the very first step they will take but even more importantly the employee must want to make the change. Coaching can be a good means of providing support and focus (Richard Bosworth’s comment is absolutely right – who wants to report back that they’ve done nothing?). In the scenario you have given it would be the line manager who takes this role although some companies employ external coaches to undertake this. It is important that the line manager understands their responsibility and is provided with the necessary skills to be an effective coach – and is measured on this by their manager.

    Only by commitment from everybody (including the trainer who should help to ensure that action plans are realistic and achievable) will real lasting change take place.

    For more information about coaching The Coaching & Mentoring Network website at http://www.coachingnetwork.org.ukis a free and objective information resource

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