Training is intended to support employee performance. Supervisors should take advantage of this important resource and actively participate throughout the entire training process. After all, supervisors are in the best position to: identify training needs; provide direction to the nature and scope of the training program; supply relevant content; advocate for, expect and reinforce new learning; and evaluate the ultimate effectiveness of a training program.
There are eight places in the training process where supervisors can have an enormous impact:
- Needs assessment:A training program will only be effective if it is based on an accurate needs assessment. The supervisor is the one who is in the best position to identify employee development needs or to recognize a gap in knowledge, skills or performance that should be addressed through training.
- Lesson design: A training program is built upon learning goals and objectives. The needs assessment process helps to define the general goals of the training. The supervisor can determine the specific, observable and measurable learning objectives necessary to achieve the training goals and meet the identified training needs. Part of the discussion of the learning objectives will includes clarifying the desired level of learning.
- Training content: Once the lesson plan is created, the supervisor provides the relevant policies, procedures and processes that need to be incorporated into the training materials and learning activities. The supervisor can also specify the content of an action plan that the employees are expected to complete.
- Pre-training reinforcement:Employees need to understand why they are receiving specific training, so that they attend with a definite focus in mind. Prior to the training, the supervisor can pinpoint what the employees are expected to learn and to bring back to the work site.
- Training introduction:When a supervisor takes the time to introduce a training program by talking about its significance, that gives additional weight to the training in the eyes of the employees.
- Post-training follow-up: After the training program is completed, the supervisor can sit down with the individual employees to review what was learned, address any confusion and review their action plans. The supervisor can also initiate a performance plan that incorporates the employee’s action plan.
- Post-training performance management:New learning needs to be continually reinforced for several months after a training program if the new knowledge or skills are to become permanent. A supervisor who takes an active role in the entire training process will recognize the importance of establishing and monitoring performance goals based on what was learned in the training program.
- Training evaluation:Kirkpatrick’s Level Three Evaluation is intended to determine whether employees are using their newly acquired knowledge and skills on the job. Only by monitoring employee performance can the supervisor assess whether or not the training program has achieved the desired performance results. This information about the effectiveness of the training will serve as critical input to future training design and delivery.
Most organizational training is intended to develop or improve employee knowledge, skills or performance. For employee training to be successful, supervisors need to be actively involved in all of the stages of the training process, from lesson planning and design through to training delivery, learning reinforcement and program evaluation.