Training is a process, not an event
  • leadership
  • Blog post

Training is a process, not an event

Surely, responsible managers would never engage in a practice they know is counterproductive and is costing their companies a fortune?

Well, I’m about to show you that’s exactly what not just some, but MOST managers are doing.

A few years ago an article in Training and Development magazine estimated the time companies allocate to three core training activities. Here’s what they concluded:

  • Preparation: 10%
  • Training event: 85%
  • Follow up: 5%

(Source: “The Promise of Phase 3” by Zenger, Folkman and Shapiro, TD Magazine, January 2005.)

Think about the core assumption managers make when they train people and spend 85% of their time on the training event itself. They’re assuming that if someone attends an event, they’re automatically going to retain what they learned. But studies have proven that 30 days out from an employee training event, knowledge retention is just 20%. Even without proof, anyone who’s been to such an event intuitively knows that statistic to be true.

The problem is that we’ve been programmed to see training as an event, not a process. We believe, against all our experience, that the event is sufficient to achieve all our training goals.

The only way training will stick is if we see it as a process, not an event. And when we say “process,” we mean following up repeatedly to reinforce learning concepts. To train people effectively, we need to spend 25% to 50% of the total allocated time to follow up, not just 5%.

Otherwise we’re wasting our time and giving our company a very low return on its training investment.

photo credit: USFS Region 5

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