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Written by Skill Dynamics

Lessons from the upcoming World Cup – making training stick is a team sport 

The Qatar World Cup begins this Sunday and if you need a reminder of the value of training and teamwork, it’s about to be in the world’s view for the next few weeks.

While, on the surface, corporate training is very different from preparing for an intense international tournament, look under the hood (or on the pitch), and there are plenty of similarities.

To start, successful training in both disciplines is all about making incremental gains. Completing one exercise won’t instantly make you a top scorer, but consistently identifying gaps in performance and working to fill them will.

Effective training also depends on more than the trainee. Any professional footballer will tell you that improvements are driven by a whole host of people – the managers in the dugout, the physios in the recovery room, the strategists ready to adapt and fine tune training plans to push the team to the next level. It’s about working together to get the team in peak physical condition – and keeping it there.

Corporate training is just the same. Learners need to give it their all, but if organizations want to achieve the best possible outcomes – and return on their training investment – they too must be engaged. 

In our experience of working with supply chain and procurement organizations around the world, there are three things every organization can do to ensure training not only sticks but becomes a way of work.

Tie training to objectives

Few footballers would complete a training exercise and consider their job done – yet all too often employees treat training as a tick-box activity. The best way to avoid this is to link training to objectives and create a post-training action plan to achieve these.

Organizations need to clearly explain what they expect the learners to achieve through the training and give them tangible goals. These can take many forms, for example implementing a new process or tool that will help with supplier negotiations, being involved earlier by the stakeholder in an RFP process, or using total cost of ownership (TCO) analysis to select a supplier.

Organizations also need to consider what the learners will need (besides the training) to achieve these objectives. This might include additional support from managers, time to implement new processes, or the right tools and data to be able to action their learnings.

Carve out time for one-on-ones between learners and managers

In an age where digital has become king, the value of face-to-face, one-on-one meetings shouldn’t be overlooked.

In these sessions, the manager is there to provide the opportunity, time and resources required for the learner to practice the training content and reach the targets set. This level of support is crucial if the employee is to implement any of the processes they have been trained on, whether they relate to coaching, budgeting, resource planning – and so forth. Creating an environment where learners can practice in a “sand-box” scenario helps embed new skills and builds their confidence in using them.

Hold experience sharing sessions

At the end of a game, you’ll often see the football team collecting in the changing rooms for a debrief of the game. In the corporate world, it should be no different.

Gathering learners from the same cohort to share their experiences is an often overlooked, yet crucial part of what makes training stick. Adults like to see how others do things. This helps reaffirm some ideas and brings new ones to the table.

In these sessions, it’s good practice for each learner to share their original objective and how they have applied their training to progress towards this. They can also discuss any challenges they’ve encountered, how they overcame them and what they’ve learnt. Doing this every few weeks (three to 12 according to the objectives) after the training, is an effective way of reinforcing the action plan originally laid out.

Making training stick isn’t a one-formula-for-all approach. Rather it’s about creating an environment where training is viewed as the means rather than an end by learners and managers alike. It’s a commitment that both parties take to ensure that the right skills are being developed to enable personal and business success.

If you’re a supply chain or procurement leader looking to ways to ensure you get the maximum ROI out of training investments, please get in touch to learn more about how we’re helping organizations make their training stick.

Skill Dynamics