Transfer of training refers to your employees effectively and continually applying what they learn in training to their jobs. Many organizations spend tons of time and energy preparing for training, but lack strategic follow up to make sure what is learned in the classroom is successfully transferred to the workplace. Consider the following strategies:
- Consider your training design – Whether you are using an in-house trainer or working with a third party vendor, does the facilitator offer “next steps” to make sure participants not only learn through reinforcement, but are given opportunity to learn through practice? If not, then it may be time to evaluate training design in order to ensure that which is offered is given opportunity to be owned. Also, is the trainer recycling materials that are out of date or irrelevant to your desired outcomes?
- Consider your application timeline – Quoting Saks and Belcourt, Raymond Noe observes, “Despite the importance of transfer of training and the emphasis that some companies are placing on it, research suggests that only 62 percent of employees transfer training immediately after completing training programs. This statistic decreases to 34 percent one year after training.” Depending on the complexity of the topic, you may need to prepare for several months and possibly even years for proper transfer of training.
- Consider your workplace environment – How successful are your efforts to create a climate that is conducive for transfer of learning? Are expectations clear? Do members of management support training efforts? Are employees encouraged to learn and then apply it? Are they evaluated pre and post-training to ensure transfer of training is indeed occurring? Is training a threat or an opportunity?
- Consider your employees’ abilities – When preparing our employees to learn something new, it is important to analyze their abilities. This is a delicate balancing act. If we give them something that is too simple, they may categorize the training as a waste of time. If we give them something that is too complex, they may reject the training as unreasonable. The key is to stretch our employees, but not break them.
- Consider your employee’s motivations – An unknown author rightly noted, “In absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia.” Some employees will set their own goals, but most will not. Co-setting training and development goals is one of the greatest gifts you can offer an employee and one of the primary ways to ensure transfer of training.
Let’s keep the conversation going. How to you facilitate transfer of training in your organization?