Transforming the Delivery of Organisational Training: Management or Planning?
There’s no escaping it: in order to ensure a competitive, efficient and productive workforce, almost all organisations in the UK invest significant sums on staff training. And with very large organisations, annual training budgets are routinely very large numbers.
When we look at recruiting and initial training of staff, some sectors, such as policing, require significant investments. The full recruitment and training process can cost up to half of the employee’s first annual salary – and as dissatisfaction with training and development opportunities can be a significant factor in staff choosing to leave their job, it becomes obvious that that training needs to be both as effective and cost efficient as possible.
In terms of ongoing training costs across the UK economy as a whole, the UK Commission for Employment and Skills’ latest Investment in Training Survey tells us that the UK’s employers spent £45.4bn on training in 2015, which broke down to an average spend of £2,600 annually per person trained – the bulk of this cost being accrued by the use of training space and trainee and trainer time.
In an era of ever-tightening budgets, it’s also clear that the provision of training needs to be provided in a highly efficient way. However, improvements in training provision have historically been undertaken by organisations in an incremental, peace-meal way (which, although well-intentioned, usually have the effect of compounding fundamental issues over time). Fortunately, advances in research and the application of appropriate technological solutions, have made available a more effective, transformative approach.
As with so many areas of activities within modern organisations, the term ‘transformation’ is now heralded as the key to providing better training at a lower cost. With a continuing trend towards ‘mobile’ workplaces, especially in larger organisations, it’s therefore not unsurprising that senior managers are increasingly turning to a transformative process which delivers cost-effective, quality training to a modern workforce.
Organisations often struggle to comprehend how the delivery of training can be transformed in a manner which can both deliver savings and continue to deliver, and improve upon, the core educational goal of the training. There are many assumptions and perceptions made around the design of the training process that can confuse things, such as the perception that training space is underutilised despite their acknowledged incapability of adding more training to the overall schedule due to the lack of space; a siloed approach to scheduling and booking of training activities; a lack of clarity around the training delivery process; the delivery of training which doesn’t sufficiently link to the broader organisational training strategy; and insufficient IT to help support a modern training environment.
The first step in designing a successful training transformation programme for an organisation requires, first and foremost, understanding the current mechanical processes for booking training activities and how these activities relate to the spaces they are allocated to. This discovery process is imperative in uncovering and understanding which of the above assumptions are creating weaknesses or blockages in overall delivery. With a clear understanding of the problem, a more comprehensive solution can be designed.
At EventMAP we’ve worked with training programmes in academia, policing, defence and healthcare to uncover, understand and design tailored approaches to training transformation that are sustainable long-term.
We recommend a four-step approach to training transformation:
Step 1: Defining and Implementing a Room Booking Strategy
Room booking is more complex than filling a series of spaces and timeslots. Defining when, where and why rooms can be booked and the best way to segment and/or integrate bookings of various activities and spaces to meet trainer needs, trainee needs and equipment needs in a way that streamlines the overall schedule is essential in keeping costs to a minimum and satisfaction levels high. The best way to achieve this balance is through a combination of product and process – specifically the implementation of room booking software capable of accommodating your booking types and requirements, and the design of a booking strategy, or a series of rules, that help you define ways to maximise the use of space and resources, and deliver based on trainer and trainee needs and expectations.
Step 2: Implementing a Training Activity Administration System
There are a wealth of factors and variables that require close consideration when creating and managing a full training schedule. Gathering trainer preferences, managing trainer availability and capabilities, assigning these against trainees and their requirements, assuring that activities are assigned to
appropriate spaces and that the secondary equipment, catering and accommodation required to deliver the activity are all available and delivered requires more than a simple spreadsheet. To optimise these tasks and assure training delivery falls within an accepted quality framework, we recommend the implementation of timetabling and scheduling software and the design of an optimised delivery schedule through constraint modelling and activity scheduling optimisation.
Step 3: Defining and Implementing a Training Strategy
A siloed approach to training design and delivery can accrue significant, and sometimes unnecessary, cost and quite often fails to deliver on an organisation’s broader strategic goals. Under, over or inappropriate training can be eliminated by the design and definition of a training strategy which links overall organisational goals to people and to activities. The strategy will help outline what training is needed and when to deliver the activity successfully within the timeframe.
Step 4: Undergoing Transformation Modelling
With scheduling and booking systems in place, rules for use implemented and a clear understanding of the desired outcomes defined, the final step we recommend is transformation modelling. This involves introducing flexibility into the schedule and understanding how the introduction of changes will impact the broader design. Modelling the outcomes of specific changes, such as the ability to change the training activity in terms of how it is delivered (e.g. contact time per space type, trainer, trainee and/or the effect of introducing electronic on-line training methods) will allow access to what other factors may require consideration before applying them to a live schedule of activities. This will ensure oversight of how quality is being impacted at all times.
By following these transformative steps, an organisation can put itself fully in control of its training functions, producing a comprehensive understanding of how training activities can be changed and what effect this will have in terms of space usage, the quality, number of trainees produced, number of trainers and need for supporting IT capability.
In our experience, when tasked with overhauling and rationalising the training function within a large organisation, even the most senior staff can struggle to find effective solutions that can adequately unravel years of layered, incremental changes. Fortunately, this is just the kind of complex transformative process that EventMAP’s systems and solutions have been designed to tackle. If you’d like to start a conversation about effective change in training resource, we’re just a call away: +44 (0)28 9023 6558.