Some things feel like they will never change. The organisational focus on delivering ‘cost effective’ (read: cheap) training, often at the expense of quality, is something constantly battled by trainers, and it appears to be a global issue. It’s incredibly common, and comes with no little amount of frustration, that many training departments assess training options on a pure outlay basis, with no regards to overall benefit from higher quality training.
Results measured in terms of volume of training produced and delivered at the lowest cost are unlikely to be the best decision for your organisation. This is not to say that training delivered should not be cost effective. It should deliver value for money, but should also deliver quality, tangible benefits, and be viewed with a view to return on investment, not simply limiting capital outlay whilst ticking the training box.
When viewing, reviewing, and procuring training programmes, organisations have a range of criteria which they use to assess suitability. These vary depending on a wide range of factors, but invariably include a range of similar facets from one company to another. Over recent months, we have noticed a shift to a few key words which have increasingly been used with regards to developing training content and programmes. In no particular order, Fun, Creative, and Interactive seem to be the buzzwords of the moment.
I believe all of these elements are vital for successful training. What is a worry is the order in which they are presented by clients. On a number of occasions in recent memory, the key requirement for training is that it should be ‘fun’. I am genuinely baffled by this, as are a number of training professionals I know.
The main reason people ask for ‘fun’ training is due to feedback that previous training has been ‘boring’. There is also a perception that younger employees are more receptive to this type of training. Often when discussing this issue with L&D professionals, the impression appears to be that training is being purposely ‘dumbed down’ simply to be more appealing to younger staff who the organisation wants to appease. Are we that worried about staff hopping to the next best thing because training isn’t as much fun as they would like it to be? I would hazard a guess that if we are working to mollify our staff by making training a bit jollier, there are likely to be some serious, underlying organisational issues which need to be addressed.
I hope that I am wrong. It is frightening to think that we are intentionally providing potentially substandard training so that we can continue to ‘engage’ younger folks and keep them happy, for which ever statistical outcome this happens to benefit on any given day.
Weaving in elements of Fun to training, being Creative, and Interactive, are vital elements to a successful outcome, and can help reinforce the concepts of the content, increase the training effectiveness, and improve the skills and knowledge of your workforce. But all of those following points should be coming before the element of having fun.
If ‘Fun’ is the name of the game, and not a real focus on desirable, beneficial outcomes, I have good news! I can save you time and money in an instant. Send your staff bowling, or to a theme park, or to the ArtScience Museum. Put them on the bus to Legoland. They will probably have bags of fun, they can be creative with their Instagram photos, and they can interact with one another all day long.
L&D professionals must continue to look for these elements when selecting training providers, programmes, and development pathways. This, however, should not be at the expense of professional development, but as something working alongside, and supporting, the core idea of developing staff competence.
If you need assistance developing a training framework for your organisation or development pathways for staff, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a confidential discussion.