In our most recent research project, we analyzed 283 individual responses from a pool of employee learners in a variety of industries (randomly selected by Training Industry, Inc.) to understand these learners’ view regarding the consistency of the training provided by their employers. We explored many areas of the importance of Learning & Development (L&D) consistency including the learners’ opinions regarding how they prefer to be trained, how consistent their learning experience is across training programs, and their perception of effectiveness.
Training consistency is a concept that touches nearly everything in L&D, especially for multi-national corporations. From an L&D and business ROI objective, an IT Network Operations specialist in Poland must have knowledge consistent with a US peer.
Without a consistent training experience, the corporate-wide effectiveness of the training may be lost, uneven, and off-brand for L&D. And to be clear, any “brand,” whether public-facing corporate or an internal department, demands consistency to be accountable and measurable.
Learner Ratings of Overall Training Consistency
First, we reviewed “Overall Training Consistency.” As you see in the chart it is a basic bell curve, with learners’ positive impressions (always/almost always) combined equal 38%, only beating the negative impressions (sometimes/not) by 6%. This data in itself may be interesting from a general L&D viewpoint perhaps but offers little actionable meaning.
Learner Ratings of Overall Training Effectiveness
Next, we reviewed “Overall Training Effectiveness” which generated another bell curve. At this point we can clearly read that 32% of the employees felt their learning experience fell into the combined ineffective (sometimes/not) spectrum. This is only 1% more than the combined always/almost always columns. Let’s all agree there is room for improvement.
Overlaying Consistency with Effectiveness
Is there causality between consistency and effectiveness? Marketing and sales departments absolutely understand that consistency is essential for managing the customer journey and ROI, so there is no leap-of-faith needed regarding managing a learner’s journey.
As you see, the two charts align. Certainly, there are many other factors, both strategic and tactical, to discuss regarding effectiveness in training, however, the correlation between effectiveness and consistency cannot be a mere coincidence, particularly in the 32% ineffective side of the charts.
Providing consistency in training has been paramount for The Training Associates’ Learning & Development program design, talent recruitment, and deployment.
One example to share about consistency in training was a four-month nationwide program we delivered to identify, qualify, and deploy multi-disciplined trainers to 100 retail locations for our Fortune 500 telecommunications client. Beginning with an intensive train-the-trainer program, we trained 25 trainers with the appropriate subject matter expertise required to instruct retail staff on the features and functions of several wireless products. In addition to product technology training, our trainers were also tasked with instructing the in-store sales staff on how to properly position and sell the products. Comparing the sales results (aka: effectiveness) across the 100 stores would not expose any lack of consistency. It’s a great testament to our L&D professionals and team who deliver on brand and training consistency.
Consistency has been repeatedly identified in training industry research as a challenge for learning leaders. It’s not a surprise that maintaining consistency comes up time and time again as one of the biggest challenges to delivering an effective training portfolio to a population of learners. Employees on opposite sides of the country or the world need to gain proficiencies in a consistent manner.
Companies with effective and consistent training have learners who are more motivated and satisfied with their work and have positive regard for professional development, compared to learners at companies struggling with effectiveness and consistency in their training programs.