By Kevin Shabaar Smith, MBA SPHR HCS President, Leaderstone and The Kevin Shabaar Smith Co.

I stood in front of the room and asked the 51 participants in class if they knew why they were in attendance, outside of the fact they were told to report to the training. I wish I could say I was surprised by the 5-10 who responded by stating they had no idea. About half of those individuals didn’t know why the training was required, while the other half didn’t know why they were selected as a participant. This is a far cry from uncommon and is just one symptom of a failure in the talent management process inside organizations. Far too often, training from the perspective of the learner seems random, disconnected from a whole, and inconsistent in the details.

training graphicWhether you’re noticing training that lacks effectiveness in practice to multiple trainers giving different tutorials on even the most simplistic tasks, most process gaps can be traced to one of the three key components for creating training programs that stick. If leadership in organizations get this process right, training takes on an entirely new light. Random one-off trainings begin to show more purpose, learners see where the training fits into the “big picture”, and leadership can trust that training content is being delivered in a consistent and dependable manner.

Even if your organization doesn’t yet have a defined Talent Management process in place, remembering these three key components can make a huge difference in making your personnel development efforts more fruitful.

Gather Pre-Training Buy-in

Often when organizations send an employee to training, there is little formal discussion as to the value of the course and it’s importance to the organization. When learners are aware of the purpose of the training, the value they will gain, and their ability to come out of the training in a better place – motivation grows and they enter the sessions ready to learn.

Define a Training Model

If you’ve ever seen two learners trained by different trainers and it seemed as though they must have been trained on two different planets – then you’ve witnessed first hand what happens when training is delivered without a defined model. Training models give structure to one’s expertise and outlines how that expertise will be delivered to the masses without losing consistency. In addition, a structured training model shows the learner where each section of content fits into a bigger picture.

Train Your Trainers to Deliver

In the manufacturing industry, a good amount of training is delivered not by trainers, but by employees who’ve demonstrated proficiency doing ‘the thing’ being taught. The problem is that training requires a specific skillset that most employees have not acquired. The result is disorganized training, delivered in a way that doesn’t connect, and completed without any solid evidence of effectiveness. However, when employees are well-trained in how to deliver training, they save time, connect with learners, and understand how to know when their work has been fruitful.

Talent Development is a key process and takes time to implement effectively. However, understanding why training fails and committing to a world-class development program by including these key components is a great place to start the journey.


Kevin Smith will facilitate Untangle Your Expertise™, a train-the-trainer workshop aimed at helping coaches, instructors, or supervisors design, deliver and evaluate training that works. The workshop is scheduled for February 16, 23, and March 2
from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm in Erie. See more details.