Noted management Guru Peter Drucker once said that the fastest growing industry would be training and development as a result of replacement of industrial workers with knowledge workers. According to estimates, fast pace of technological innovations are de-skilling large sections of employees in organizations, entailing their periodic training to facilitate them acquire new knowledge, skills and attitudes to be able to continue to discharge their responsibilities effectively.
Training is a process. It is not a one-time event or activity which is conducted and forgotten. An effective training system will entail a set of interrelated activities from class room to on-the-job to impart certain aspects of knowledge or skills required for successful discharge of a particular job role at a particular time. If job conditions change overtime like introduction of new machine / technology, it will require the retraining of the individuals and teams to acquire and practice new knowledge and additional skills.
It empowers people for results. Empowerment means a systematic transfer of decision making competencies and consequent authority down the line in the organization to achieve business results. Therefore, effective training provides thenecessary knowledge, required skills set and confidence of experience that individuals and teams need to shoulder higher levels of responsibilities.
The events of last few decades have forced Organisations to face rapid and often unexpected changes in technology, work culture and people expectations. Empowering employeeswith therequired knowledge, skills and attitudes to cope with the emerging challenges of change is not onlya goodhuman resource management but is a prerequisite for long term survival and growth of individuals and Organisations.
Training skills are essential
Training is considered an essential part of activity in most organized sectors. However, except few enlightened ones, most are not putting the competent people to handle these responsibilities. On the other hand, many of the retired professionals don the mantle of trainers, when they have no other formal responsibilities to take over. That gives the notion that training is the function that anybody with some experience can discharge. However, that is not the case and most of the ill effects and pitfalls in the training function can be attributed to severe shortage of competent people with right skills and competencies inside and outside the Organisations. There are a number of skills and competencies that are needed to master in order to become competent training professional. Some of these include:
- Understanding the importance of training as a function for the organization,
- Knowledge of different types and reasons for training,
- Knowing how to manage the different stages of training process,
- Being able to use different models of training, including coaching& mentoring
- Knowing how to identify training needs of individuals, teams and the organization,
- Knowing how to design a training module appropriate to training needs,
- Knowing how to run an effective training package,
- Knowing the concept of training evaluation and skills to undertake the process to evaluate outcomes of training,
- Art of using Jokes in training to stress a point but not to make training itself a joke,
- Skill to develop and use various training methodologies like Role Play, Management Games and Case studies to build comprehension among participants,
- Understanding of reliability and validity of various training instruments,
- Learning Strategies - Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching newissues,
- Knowing the art of briefing and debriefing before and after a certain event,
- Skill of Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems,
- Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Capability for right Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Concern for Others -Being sensitive to others' expectations, needs and feelings and havingempathetic understanding and helpful attitude to people, and
- Ability for Stress Tolerance -Trainers Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
Knowledge, skills and experience of trainers
I have come across a large number of trainers during my over three decades in the function of learning and development industrial sectors- PSU, MNC and Private. Many of them were seasoned and very effective training professionals - both young, experience and mature. Incidentally, I also had opportunities to meet some young trainers, few of whom have come out of the good institutions like IIMs and started their training and consultancy organizations. They have good knowledge of concepts acquired during their curriculum and have learnt certain instruments which they administer to participants. After collecting the responses, they give the answer keys or scores without comprehensively explaining the values of the scores and their relevance to individuals. Many instruments like MBTI, FIRO-B, EI and 16 PF, etc., are used without having comprehensive understanding of the concepts and interpretation skills required to explain it to audience for logical comprehension.
The work experience is necessary part of socialization process to be able to facilitate internalization and assimilation of the concepts and learning and will be normally in a better position to comprehend and consequently effectively transfer that knowledge linking with appropriate situations of his or her work experiences. However, all individual experiences and understandings may not necessary be a true guide for generic competencies on the concerned issues. This entails a balanced blend of comprehension of concepts, experiential learning and capability to relate to appropriate situations.
Some trainers use excessive jokes during their sessions and so repeatedly that participants of past programs can tell future participants about when s/he is going to use which joke, sometimes making training itself a joke. Making a comment in lighter vein is okay to stress certain point but excessive use should be avoided to make training a serious business.