There’s an elephant in the room: Companies spend millions of dollars on workplace training each year that doesn’t work. We all know this. We don’t talk about it, but it’s true.
Have you found the two day workshops you’ve been running rarely deliver the outcomes they promise? Time and time again, we see companies go through the cycle of selecting a new training provider every three years or so, hoping somehow the newest thinking on a desired capability will be the difference that changes cultural organisation. However, we all know, this doesn’t work. Companies continue to throw good money after bad, repeating the same actions, with the same providers, but hoping for a different outcome. I developed Endex to disrupt this pattern. To give companies a much needed choice. The results have been astounding. Here’s why:
Throughout my career, I was fortunate enough to work with a market leading behavioural research company with a very scientific approach to designing high performance training programmes for Corporates. We approached training from a behavioural perspective and backed it with real time research and analysis. What we did was analyse peak performers and underperformers, in an attempt to understand what behaviour separates those people who were really good at what they did and those who were average. We then isolated those very specific high performing behaviours and went about designing training programmes that would teach these behaviours to all. We developed a highly interactive strategy to training, incorporating immersion techniques, case studies, role plays, team against team negotiating scenarios etc, and the training was received very well. We placed emphasis on teaching interactive skills, believing the old adage “Give a person a fish and you’ll feed them for a day. Show a person how to fish and you’ll feed them for a lifetime”. However, what happens when memory of those interactive skills fade? Where is the embedded process foundation to reinforce the training and skills we’ve taught down the track?
We were awakened to a problem by a major global manufacturing client. They engaged us for our traditional, highly strategised training modules for their $15m per year sales training spend. It was a huge account, and they were very pleased with what we delivered. On review they came to us and said “We love your sales training programme. It makes sense. But we want to know if it’s actually sticking, because we are spending so much money”.
It was a great question! So, with that in mind, we had another research project now. We knew what the good sellers did, and we were training people in it, but now we needed to find out if those skills were being transferred back into the field, because there was a $15m investment on the line.
What we discovered, absolutely shocked us. An average 87% skill loss of what was taught in the classroom, after just 4 weeks! Translated into dollars and cents, an 87% skill loss over a $15m investment equates to $13m per year, wasted by one company, for one role, in one skill set!
On closer investigation, we found a few outliers – those people who sat outside of the curve had not only retained all of the skills taught in the classroom but had learned to adapt and develop these skills. Not only that, they had created new skills that they applied creatively to more challenging sales solutions.
So now we had a new question, “What behaviours were these individuals engaging in that made all the difference?” If we could understand that, and if we could teach it to others, we would become much more successful in the way we trained and developed people.
It is no surprise that successful skill retention was all about embedding and reinforcement. In studying every Outlier, we found they all had the following four things in place:
They had been coached and they naturally coached others to take personal responsibility for their own development.
They had been involved in Manager-led activities leading to a deeper understanding of strengths and weaknesses in adopting the new behaviours.
3. Self-led Activities
They had engaged in creative self-led activities helping them to practice and develop their skill set.
4. Peer Dialogue
They engaged in active dialogue with their peers about the new skills and their day to day application.
It was this constant reinforcement, this post-training activity that aided in embedding and reinforcing the process and interactive skills learned in the formal training sessions. These days we neatly call this the 70:20:10 framework.
- The 70 – Experiential/Experience – learning and developing through day-to-day tasks, challenges and practice;
- The 20 – Social/Exposure – learning and developing with and through others from coaching, exploiting personal networks and other collaborative and co-operative actions;
- The 10 – Formal/Education – learning and developing through structured courses and programs.
This in itself is not new thinking. The majority of training organisations understand the importance of follow-up activities after training, however there are two main problems with their approach. One problem is they turn the follow up activities into a process. Most cultures are very resistant to adding yet another process to their already congested workflows. The second problem is the main emphasis is on training first, leaving the embedding as secondary. Don’t believe me? Look at your external training provider L&D spend, calculate how much of that spend (in time and money) is on training, and how much is on embedding and reinforcement. Most companies report an 80/20 split on average.
So, if training itself makes such as small difference, and what matters is what follows, then why is the corporate world paying so little attention to this?
The answer lies in the fact we have been conditioned to apply the standard, high-cost, two day externally provided training solution for the last 20 years, and we simply do not have the capability in our organisations to bring it back in-house and take control of the process at a cultural level.
At Endex, we help clients manage the transition. We base our learning approach on what we know are proven, effective activities. We take our knowledge of the outlier behaviours, and design our training programmes to maximise outcomes, incorporating:
- Reduce workshop content to short (60-90 minutes), bite-sized learning interactions based on vital skills;
- Train managers, facilitators, leaders and subject matter experts in the key communication skills they need to bring the subject matter alive;
- Lead the thinking of the participants towards personal responsibility for the learning journey.
With this approach, our clients have experienced lasting returns on their (much reduced) financial investment, along with tangible outcomes, a change in behaviour of their staff, and an active implementation of the new skills in their approach to work.
We take your financial investment in training seriously. Forget standard processes, forget standard systems. We dive into your business and work with your internal managers, facilitators and coaches to teach them the key interpersonal and facilitation skills they need to be able to coach and train your staff effectively. We work with you to custom design training modules, and provide you with peer-led dialogue which is relevant to your business, and communicates your business goals. Then when we’ve finished, we hand everything over to you. You own the materials, you own the IP. It’s all yours to re-use over and over again, as many times as you like.
You can let go of what you’ve been tied to for the last 15 years – we help you take back control and we take personal responsibility in making sure you achieve desired long-term outcomes for your training investment.
If you would like to discuss how we can give you a higher return on your training investment, please don’t hesitate to schedule a free call with us today to find out how we can help you.