Training Strategy for Changing Behavior

board-room-trainingIf you need to change the current behavior of an organization through education on new policies and practices, then you need to have a proven training strategy.

These kind of training initiatives are always challenging. People generally don’t like change. Most would prefer to continue doing things the way they know how, so changing a procedure often comes with some contention.

When you are trying to change organizational behavior you need to make sure that the course structure is conducive to the desired change, and that it is presented in a way that naturally guides people through the changes.

On all of my consulting engagements that required change-training, we implemented a similar strategy.

While there is hardly a “one-size-fits-all” approach to training, this framework is a great place to start. At the very least you will have a general guideline in place for your own program.

The demands of your audience and objectives will impact the specifics of your delivery – but the core of this outline will still apply.

Step 1: Constant & Consistent Communication

Without a communication plan in place, your training program is doomed from the start.

Prior to delivering the first training initiative, you should have regular emails being sent to the target audience.

The communications that are sent should inform people on the training program that is coming, and provide a general overview as to why the training is necessary.

These emails should be sent from someone with a high profile and not from third party consultants (although they can be written by the consultants).

Communication doesn’t end when the training begins. Make sure your plan continues logically throughout the life of the project.

Step 2: Educate Through ELearning

Use the efficiency of elearning to your advantage. Require that the target audience take an introduction elearning course prior to any other training (as training can often vary depending on role).

This first module should attempt to provide a more detailed explanation about the training initiative, the changes that are coming, and the benefit (expected outcome) of these changes.

In addition, use this as an opportunity to address anticipated questions.  Most importantly, allow participants an opportunity to submit questions at the end of the elearning.

Step 3: Foster Change Through Live-Training

After participants have completed one (or more) elearning modules, your next step is to hold a live-training event.

Require that all participants of the live-training complete the elearning as a prerequisite. This helps to keep the event on schedule, and it also gives you insight into what areas you should spend more time on compared to others based on submitted questions and user quiz performance.

While the format of your live-training will depend on a variety of factors, you should make sure to incorporate explanations, simulations, then exercises.

The explanations go over the details of the change and also give people a forum to ask questions. Explanations should briefly address the “current day” process, the change itself, and why the change is important.

Simulations are guided examples of the changes in action, while exercises give participants an opportunity to practice in a safe environment.

Step 4: Always Collect Data

Throughout all of the steps you should be collecting metrics. If you fail to measure the impact of your training, you will be unable to make the proper adjustments.

Informal feedback can be just as helpful as number metrics, but you should identify key data points to measure so you know if the training initiative is having a positive impact.

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About the Author:

Justin Ferriman is the co-founder and CEO of LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by the world's leading organizations, such as the University of Michigan, Digital Marketer, WPEngine, and Infusionsoft. Justin has made a career as an elearning consultant where he has implemented large-scale training programs for Fortune 500 companies. Twitter | LinkedIn

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