I’m sure we have all heard the cliché, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” Learners attend training programs to gain knowledge and skill to improve their performance for their current job. However, what I often hear from many learners in my courses is a big “BUT!” The “but” is typically related to the challenges faced after training when they return to work. The most common challenges mentioned are a lack of time and a lack of management support to implement the new skills back on the job. These challenges don’t bode well for training transfer!
There’s a quote that resonates with me, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you always got.” In other words, there will be no improvement or change to the bottom line if employees aren’t given the conditions to apply their new skills—the transfer of training won’t take place. Unfortunately, the training itself is often blamed for this lack of success.
So, how can we empower our learners with the tools to be a change agent once they leave training and return to work? The following four tips can eliminate, or at least minimize, the “but” and assist our learners with the transfer of training.
1. Have learners keep an action plan during training. Towards the end of the training program ask them to prioritize their top three or four items and identify timelines for their implementation.
2. Ask learners to consider the obstacles they may face in implementing their key learnings, along with strategies to deal with those obstacles. In teams, have learners share their potential obstacles and strategies and then receive feedback. Ideally, if there is time, have them practice using a role play.
3. Invite learners to be proactive and arrange a meeting with their manager to discuss their action items and timeline for implementation to gain their manager’s support.
4. Suggest they offer to conduct a teach-back to their peers when they return to work. This can also enhance buy-in.
These are four simple tips to empower our learners to eliminate the “but” and improve training transfer. The goal is to put those training dollars to use by supporting the transfer of knowledge and skill immediately back on the job. When this happens, the bottom line is improved and everybody wins. Remember, “If you don’t use it, you lose it!” So rather than wasting time and resources, let’s create a win-win for everyone.
If you want to learn even more ways you can make training transfer-friendly and ensure it really "sticks" back on the job, attend our Make Your Training Stick workshop.
What tips do you recommend to support the transfer of training back on the job? I look forward to your suggestions!