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The Kirkpatrick New World Level 3: Part 2


Ahead of their only UK speaking engagement at TrainingZone Live, Jim and Wendy Kirkpatrick conclude their piece on what they consider to be the most important of the Four Levels. Read on...

Step 3: Teach the critical behaviors in training

While it may seem obvious, there is often a disconnect between the critical behaviours that need to be performed on the job and what is taught in training. Make sure you are teaching what participants need to know to perform the critical behaviours on the job. Include skills practice and simulations to make sure they not only know what they are supposed to do, but have had some practice in actually doing it.
It is unfortunate that so much training is conducted with no particular focus on the end goal. The goal of any good training is to equip participants to perform the critical behaviors on the job so the highest possible level of organisational results is achieved.
If the goal of the training is something other than supporting the accomplishment of key organisational goals, it may not actually be 'training'. Organisations that consider training a 'benefit' or a 'perk' actually do a disservice if the goal of the event is to thank or reward associates. Those types of events are not actually training and should be regarded differently.

Step 4: Monitor and measure performance of critical behaviours on the job

Monitoring and measuring Level 3 behaviour does not need to be difficult or expensive. A variety of methods are available to fit any organisation and budget: 
  • Observing training graduates
  • Surveying participants, supervisors, direct reports, peers, and/or customers
  • Reviewing actual work output
  • Conducting interviews and focus groups
To help alleviate concerns that Level 3 is too complicated, break it down to the answers to two key questions:
"To what degree are people applying what they learned in training?"
"If not, why not?"  
Answers to those two questions provide the roadmap for the required interventions if on-the-job behaviors are sub-standard. Failure to obtain answers to these key questions precludes any targeted approach to removing the barriers.

Step 5: Make adjustments based on the data

Continually monitoring and measuring Level 3 behaviours and drivers will allow you to make adjustments to the plan. In figure 3 this is depicted by the large orange box. This is where the magic happens. Monitoring not only the critical behaviours but also the required drivers will give you data and information to make tactical adjustments to your plan. This will help to ensure that on-the-job application is occurring.
"If training graduates can show you how to perform the critical behaviour but they aren't doing it on the job, the problem was not the training, it is something in the work environment."
If you discover that participants are not performing the critical behaviours you can increase the use of drivers.
If you find that the behaviours are being performed but desired results are still not being obtained, you can work with managers to determine if the critical behaviours defined before training are indeed the correct ones.
Monitoring on-the-job application will also give you needed data to show if the training was effective. If training graduates can show you how to perform the critical behaviour but they aren't doing it on the job, the problem was not the training, it is something in the work environment.
This monitoring and adjusting process ensures that the initiative stays on track, and more importantly that it contributes to the desired results. This strengthens the position of training as a key part of achieving organisational objectives.

Level 3 execution tips

Here are some suggestions for leveraging Level 3 to maximise Level 4 results:
  • Decide that Level 3 is not as hard as some people make it. Select a few key programs or processes and enact a Level 3 plan. Make sure you begin with targeted Level 4 outcomes and work backwards to identify the behaviours that will most likely bring about those results
  • Limit the number of critical behaviours. More is not better: too many critical behaviours confuse employees and make follow-up and reinforcement unmanageable
  • Select Level 3 methods and that fit your program and process needs, budget and company culture. Surveys are not the best or only method. For mission-critical behaviours and programs use a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods
  • If you do choose to incorporate surveys, there are free online tools you can use to make it easy and inexpensive
  • Prepare the learner for Level 3 both before and during training. It is unrealistic to expect people to welcome Level 3, because it increases accountability. Providing information will make Level 3 more comfortable for training graduates. For example, tell participants that there will be follow-up after training to help them apply what they learned. This will help them to perform their jobs more successfully so they can make an investment in their future, and a contribution to the organisation
  • Pre-position Level 3 with managers and anyone else involved in executing the drivers. Explain their role in observing and supporting critical behaviors. Provide training, coaching and job aids as needed
  • Enact some drivers immediatelyafter key learning events to reinforce the new behaviors. Focus on monitoring at this point; save qualitative measuring for after the learners are more comfortable. It can be as simple as a supervisor coming alongside an employee immediately after training and saying, "Can I help you with this?"


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