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Getting the Most from Your Employee Training and Development

Guest Blog – Stephen McDermott, CIFFA Director Education and Training

Toronto Ont September 3, 2015        Sending your new and tenured employees on training to enhance job skills and knowledge can be a significant investment, the cost of which can only be calculated by combining the cost of formal training plus the time spent by co-workers and managers to coach and develop that employee.  Consequently, having a well-trained employee working efficiently and following compliance guidelines should make your company money in the long run.  But are you fostering the learning in your employees after they have been formally trained?  And are you assessing the effectiveness of the training in the long run?

When I teach an air dangerous goods course, I ask the students what types of DG they typically ship, and how often they come across a DG shipment.  For some it is daily, for others, two or three times per year.  Employees who go back on the job and apply what they have learned right away will always fare better than those who apply what they have learned two months after the fact.

To take advantage of this investment in employee education, companies would be well advised to consider a coaching or job mentoring strategy geared to the on-going development of an employee who just completed an in-class or online training course through CIFFA.  For example, if an employee completes dangerous goods training for the first time, are they paired up with someone in your organization to fulfill a shipment order for their first attempt?  If there are no regular DG shipments, can you provide them with a fictitious shipment to keep their knowledge fresh?

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Donald Kirkpatrick created the 4-level training evaluation model.   To learn more on Kirkpatrick’s model, click here.  At CIFFA we are able to assess learner reactions (Level 1) through surveys and feedback on the training, as well as to evaluate how effective the learning was through examinations (level 2).

The transfer stage (level 3) consists of HOW your employees apply what they learned in training and post training on the job.  This can only be observed if your organization is supportive of what they have learned and provides them with an opportunity to integrate that learning on the job.

Finally, the results phase (level 4) assesses if your investment in training was worth it, and will depend on your organizational goals.    Using DG shipments as an example: are fewer shipments being turned back by operators because of missing documentation or incorrect packaging?  Are fewer ‘hidden’ dangerous goods making their way into shipments resulting in costly fines?  Are sales increasing because of your employees’ knowledge of something they have learned?

In conclusion, an employee’s training does not end once they finish the class, online lessons or complete the exam.  Training should follow them back to their job, and should be fostered by their organization.  It will take some time and effort to establish new processes to ensure you can properly assess the effectiveness of that training in the long run, but it’s worth it to be able to quantify the ROI on your chosen training program!

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