Transfer of new skills

Transfer of new skills and behaviour change in the workplace

Many trainers are faced with the challenge of motivating their training program participants to use the new skills they learned back in their workplace. Whether it is using the new software system to enter customer interactions, acting in a more collaborative manner with other team members or delegating more often to direct reports, this is what the training program is meant to be all about. If the training program does not in the end change workplace behaviours, the money and time spent on training is simply wasted.

At BLC course programs are developed and delivered with four things in mind:

  • Program is linked to organisational objectives
  • Real work relevance
  • Practice
  • Interpersonal interaction

Before training

At BLC the participants’ managers conduct a pre-course briefing with each participant. This briefing is the place for each manager to introduce discussion about how the principles, techniques and skills learned will be applied practically once the participant returns from the training event. Their manager is also in the best position to ensure that participants have completed any pre-requisite reading or exercises. Most important of all, the pre-course briefing sends a powerful message that the organisation cares about the employee’s development and is serious about seeing the benefits of training.

During training

For training to be effective, the fundamentals of training design will need to have been followed. These basics include selecting the right participants, matching performance objectives to organisational outcomes, delivering at the right time and choosing the appropriate methods and delivery modes. In addition, the following four points need to be kept in mind.

  • Organisational objectives

    Participants actively engage the subject matter when they see a purpose in the learning. This could be reducing time to market for new products or minimizing the company’s environmental impact. If there is a sense that the program is “going somewhere”, that there is a significant point to the training beyond the training room, many participants will latch onto that purpose – so long as there is a “hook” to make that connection. That “hook” may be personal. It may be the social acceptance that will come from passing the course, or it may be earning the eligibility to join a respected professional association, for example. So at BLC we ensure that the WIIFM (“What’s In It For Me”) is clearly articulated.

  • Real work relevance

    Showing how the program relates directly to people’s day-to-day work significantly lifts the level of participant interest. A BLC facilitator always has demonstrated expertise in the knowledge and skills being taught. This enables them to use a host of real-life examples and scenarios that they have encountered over their long spanning careers. The facilitators ensure they get to know the organisation their participants work for to ensure role-plays, simulations and examples are as true to life as possible for everyone.

    In addition, the facilitator is also able to deliver training in such a way that models, theories and principles are contextualised for each workplace situation. Participants are involved in making those connections by generating free and frank discussion about how the learning can be applied back on the job. Another strategy used is getting the participants’ supervisors and managers to introduce the program or each session. Doing this sends a strong message that the person to whom they report considers the program to be practical and relevant to their work. Often in BLC programs the managers, CEO’s and sometimes business owners are also participants in the program. This models to the rest of the group how important the training is to the organisation and that a learning environment is valued by all.

  • Practice

    Every program developed at BLC has opportunities for practice built into the training. This helps to spark participants’ interest as they experience new aspects of the skill and builds their self-confidence as they gain success. At BLC we have found that factoring in opportunities for practice also increases motivation to use the skills on the job by revealing to participants first hand how the new skills can improve their work. The variety of physical movement and mental activity also helps to maintain participant interest.

  • Interpersonal interaction

    Learning in the workplace is largely a social activity, in which goals and aspirations are shared, experiences are discussed, different approaches are debated and ways of doing things are demonstrated. In some programs, participants will learn more from each other than from the trainer. Our philosophy at BLC is that everyone in the learning group, including the facilitator, has a huge amount of skills and knowledge to share. All programs are developed so that when the participants return to their workplaces, their shared learning will foster interactions that encourage collaboration, motivation and transfer of skills and knowledge into individual work roles.

    To ensure that this occurs each program at BLC asks plenty of questions that gain attention and generate discussion.

    • The whole group is asked questions so that they can get to know something about their peers
    • Small group work is incorporated to allow participants time to discuss and answer questions designed to make them think about how the new concept / skill can be applied to their work role
    • Participants work individually to answer questions and develop action plans related to what strategies they will commit to implementing in their workplace

After training

BLC supports the organisation in the transferring of skills to the workplace. This is often undertaken through group or individual coaching of participants once a month for a short period. This allows them to discuss barriers they may be facing in implementing new strategies into their work role and helps in the development of critical thinking and problem solving skills.

BLC works in partnership with the individual and the organisation to ensure that:

      • Each participant reaches their highest potential
      • Organisational needs are met
      • Every program is developed and delivered in a way that is interactive, meets individual learner needs and is relevant to the workplace
      • All participants have FUN as this is the way we learn best
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