Three Training Improvements

19 April 2015

Are you responsible for training improvements in your organization?

Sometime it feels easier to pass a congressional act than to get approval for a training program upgrade. But here are three training improvements you can do right now that will make a huge difference, and you don’t need to wait for approval… do it now!

1. Re-write training objectives

Pick any existing training program in your organization, look at the training objectives, and I can almost guarantee that the objectives are about content knowledge (“The learner will know how to…).

The best training improvements you’ll ever make for your company will be when you re-write the training objectives into performance objectives, where the outcomes are results that matters to the bottom line of the business.

Here are two examples from chemical manufacturing, one bad, one good.

  • As a result of training, the learner will know how to make a batch of product X.
  • As a result of training, the learner will make a batch of product X with at 98% material efficiency and within the standard turnaround time of 3.5 hours.

You certainly recognize that the latter version states the training objective in specific, measurable, and timely terms. There is no ambiguity about what is expected.

Training group


2. Train employees only on the skills and knowledge they need

Companies waste a lot of resource training employees on skills and knowledge they don’t need in their jobs. A well-crafted training profile for each employee spells out precisely what is required for each employee (whether required by the business, or by regulation), and no more and no less. Once you create the profile, stick to it, and review it on a semi-annual basis to ensure it is evergreen.

I hear your objection: “OSHA says we have to train employees on blah and blah and blah…” Yes, you have a responsibility to comply with OSHA, or ISO, or any other agency or guideline, and those requirements may violate my first principle above, as well as this second principle. I maintain my position. Even with compliance-related training, you can shape the learning objectives toward a performance orientation and create training profiles that will make your training activity efficient and cost-effective.

3. State performance expectations

Once you train an employee to “Make a batch of product X with 98% efficiency…”, then you support that learning objective by stating performance expectations on the job. Select the metrics that matter in your organization (things like on-time-in-full delivery, or person-hours per batch, etc), and set targets. Provide regular – even continuous – feedback to the employee about how their achievement meets the targets.

Example: Employee shall complete six batches of product X per week.

These three improvements are transformative, and they don’t require a project charter, a capital expenditure, or an act of Congress to complete them. A little bit at a time, you can go through all of your training programs and make these changes. Don’t wait, do it now. Your boss will love you.


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