Category Archives: Training

How to get ROI for workplace training

workplace training

Remember the last time you organised workplace training for your team? If you’re like most businesses, there was probably some tipping point that led you to hire a trainer or send staff to a workshop.

Whether it’s due to client feedback or concerns about staff productivity, a common scenario is a small ‘niggle’ that festers and grows until someone decides they’ve had enough and it’s time to throw some money at it in the hope the situation will improve.

There may also be more than a little wishful thinking in the mix because the problem’s now shared with a third party who might just have a magical solution.

Unfortunately there is no magic wand! However, here are some ideas you can use next time to ensure you’re spending your learning-and-development dollars wisely.

1. Identify outcomes

You’ve briefed a trainer and organised the venue, catering and participants. Great! Now, before the session, you should spend at least as much time deciding how you will know if the training has been effective.What are your measures of success? What’s the goal you’d like to achieve?

Think about the appropriate targets that you can measure both before and after the session. For a time-management workshop in a professional service business, for example, this may be the number of client calls, completed tasks or new proposals in a given time period. Once you’ve determined your measures, record your starting figures.

2. Have the right people in the room

It may seem obvious to you which staff need to attend the training, but don’t be afraid to think laterally.

In the time-management example above, it makes sense to broaden your scope to other team members who will impact the staff you want to train. Despite all the best information and intentions, your training attendee won’t have a hope of managing their time better if they are continually interrupted by their peers or even by a micromanaging boss (which does happen). Do other staff need to be in the room too?

3. Monitor and measure

Most businesses do a great job of collecting participant feedback at the end of a training session. This is useful information, but nowhere near as important as what happens when the post-workshop enthusiasm wanes and reality hits. Then it’s time to pull out your targets from the first step above and decide on the time frames for measuring performance against the targets. You will then have the data you need for making decisions not only about the return on investment, but also about future training and coaching needs.

Smaller businesses don’t typically assess the effectiveness of training. It’s not because they don’t care about getting value for money — it’s because they haven’t thought through how it could be done. With these ideas for getting ROI on your training dollar, you can make it a priority for your next training program.

This article was originally published on MYOB’s blog, The Pulse. For more business news and tips, visitwww.myob.com/blog.

Harrison Career Navigator Training in Melbourne

Are you curious about the Harrison Assessments career reports?

Are you thinking of using Career Navigator with your clients, but not sure how to start? Needing to update your knowledge?

Our new quick start course for career professionals is the perfect answer. After just a few hours, you’ll be ready to use the Harrison Career Navigator System confidently and effectively.

AGENDA

  • Theoretical background
  • Career reports –
    • Career Options
    • Career Development
    • Career Enjoyment
    • Your Greatest Strengths
  • Career Navigator System
  • Using your own system
  • Growing your practice

Limited spaces available – book early

Day: Thursday 3rd December 2015

Time: 1-4 pm

Venue:    Meeting Room 1

Library at the Dock

107 Victoria Harbour Promenade

Docklands, Melbourne

Cost: $220 (incl GST)

RSVP: by Friday 20 November 2015

Contact: Susan Rochester – susanr@balanceatwork.com.au

For more information, click here

What’s your story? #5: Judy Palmer-Brown

What's your story?

When Judy Palmer-Brown and I first met, we were both working at a higher altitude – in the beautiful Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. There have been many changes for both of us in the 15 or so years since then. It’s been great to have our paths meet again more recently and to have the opportunity to hear her very interesting and inspiring career story.  

Judy Palmer-BrownWhat’s your current position and what do you do?

Employment Services Project Manager for WSI – TAFE NSW. My role is to engage and work with clients from a range of organisations who work in the field of recruitment and employment services. These organisations place unemployed people into training and sustainable employment to assist them towards achieving independence.

Is this what you expected to be doing when you were at school?

Not at all. I had considered becoming a legal secretary or a nurse. Both were considered traditional occupations for females who had not gone on to university studies. Tertiary education wasn’t considered as a serious option for girls in the Blue Mountains in that era unless they were highly successful students, wishing to become a teacher, or their parents had completed tertiary education and were encouraging them to go.

When I first left school I trained to become a secretary at a well- known private college. It was quite expensive and I was having difficulties paying the fees. I left the course half way through due to the financial pressure, coupled with a flagging interest in secretarial work, in favour of nursing as I could train on the job.

What was your first job?

From the time I was 14 years old, I worked part-time at a local service station that doubled as a general store. I learnt to pump petrol, use a cash register, stack shelves and maintain a mini delicatessen. I worked two afternoons after school and each Sunday. My best friend worked alternate weekdays and the Saturday. We were earning good money although lamented that we never got to see each other. This was my first lesson in the importance of work/life balance.

My first full-time position was as an enrolled nurse. I enjoyed learning and caring for others although had nagging doubts about if it was truly the career for me. I was beginning to wonder if one actually existed.

Can you tell us about a significant turning point in your career/life?

I became a single parent at quite a young age when my first marriage broke down. I wasn’t able to continue working as an enrolled nurse as child care was too difficult to manage as a shift worker.
I worked in a range of different roles including banking, clerical, reception and hospitality accommodation services, as my six months of training had given me enough skills to gain entry level positions.

While my roles were generally junior level, I gained insight into the running of business and I developed an interest and passion in starting a business myself; however I was limited as I didn’t have management experience in any particular field and had no capital funds for a traditional start-up. What I did have though was desire, drive, and a vacuum cleaner. I set up a cleaning business and used my experience in hotels to benchmark a high level of service backed up by a quality improvement and feedback program to ensure my clients received personalised service that exceeded expectations. The business grew quickly and I began to hire staff.

After several years of running my business, I began to feel that I needed a new challenge so made enquiries at my local TAFE college about studying Business Management, although I was open to other avenues as well.

I met a dynamic head teacher in Tourism and Hospitality who encouraged me to gain qualifications in Hospitality Accommodation Services to complement my work history so I could share my work experiences as a teacher. Teaching was an amazing experience. I had discovered a whole new passion. That was in 1996.

I have since gone on to complete a Bachelor of Adult Education and specialised in language, literacy and numeracy teaching in conjunction with labour market programs and workplace training.

Completing a degree also gave me opportunities within the TAFE sector, ultimately leading to managing programs for the Institute and working in the commercial sector. My current position allows me to indulge in my passion for business along with developing training opportunities for people like myself, who have found themselves in a limited capacity to develop a career because of personal circumstances. I firmly believe that education is the greatest investment you can make in yourself.

Who do you admire? Who has inspired you?

I know this is going to sound cliché… however I admire Richard Branson. Richard has boundless enthusiasm and an absolute sense of self that allows him to stretch and grow his business while continuing to challenging himself and inspire his employees. The Virgin group is as diverse and vibrant and the founder.

If there were no limitations, what would be in the future for you?

I want to work for myself again. I want to build an enterprise that I can be immensely proud of; one that inspires others and provides opportunities for employees to feed their ambition and achieve their own personal success.

Finally, what would you tell your younger self about work and careers?

Education, education, education! I can’t stress enough how important it is educate yourself. Education is powerful. Be open to ongoing learning, whether that takes place in the traditional sense or through mentors. Gather people around you who are positive and generous with their time and knowledge and then reciprocate and pay it forward to people who you can assist and influence. Aside from gaining a qualification, studying builds self-confidence and develops a broader understanding of the world and how it works. Share everything you learn.

Do you know someone whose career story should reach a wider audience? Please let us know!

Why your workshops aren’t working

workplace training

As a (sometimes) trainer, I’m surprisingly cynical about the value of training workshops in changing behaviour. I know I’m not alone in this, and I think I now understand why.

Typically, a client comes to us with a problem in their organisation that they feel training can solve. It might be an issue such as bullying or poor productivity. They have the budget and we design a program for them. We deliver the training but only rarely get to know if it has any impact in the longer term. My experience of human behaviour tells me a short workshop is highly unlikely to have solved the problem it was meant to address in the first place. This is why…

1. We are only treating the symptoms

If I have a headache, I can take some painkiller but unless I change what caused the headache, the pain relief will only be temporary.

If you have poor time management skills, I can teach you a range of techniques. They might help you get more done, but if your real problem is not being assertive enough to say ‘no’ when someone wants you to do something, all I’ve taught you is a smoother route to burnout.

Similarly, we could run a session on bullying, but if your managers lack the emotional intelligence to read their impact on others and know when they are being a bully, not much will change.

2. The wrong people are in the room

Early in my consulting life, I conducted a series of half-day workshops on bullying and harassment for an organisation with around 300 staff. We knew bullying was endemic and it needed to be stopped. We also knew this toxic culture was coming from the top as is, sadly, often the case.

As you may have guessed, although they were scheduled and rescheduled into the workshops, the executive were always too busy and didn’t make it to the training. In this case, we didn’t even get the change to share the basics with them, let alone contribute to a wider cultural change – which is what was really needed.

3. Not monitoring return on investment

On numerous occasions, we’ve been called in to deliver a program for a specific purpose. This is well and good: a need has been identified and it is being addressed. But often there’s something missing.

That something is data. Without knowing how bad the problem is and the evidence that supports our assumption a problem exists, it will be very hard – if not impossible – to know how effective the training intervention has been.

Quite often, organisations choose to save money upfront by not doing a good analysis of their needs. Unfortunately, this attitude guarantees they will have no way of knowing – apart from feelings – if they’ve just thrown more money away on a pointless training exercise.

How do you avoid these traps?

1. Do your homework

Know what you want to achieve. Make sure you have current data that will allow you to track progress over time, and clear goals of what outcomes you would like to see in the future.

2. Choose wisely

Sometimes a workshop is not the best way to achieve your desired outcome. For example, poor morale may be due to one person. Then your decision is to keep or let go, and if you decide to keep the person your next choice is about how to manage their behaviour.

3. Monitor closely

While feedback on the day is essential, usually people are basking in the glow of new information or a day out of the office. What matters more is long term change.You must work out how you will measure this change, it could be anything from fewer incidents to feedback after one month.

By following the steps above, you will be on your way to more effective training in your business.

If you have any further insights or tips, please share them below.

 

Australia’s vocational training system continues to deliver jobs

NCVER media release  ·  3 December 2014

The results are in for Australia’s major survey of students for rating the nation’s vocational education and training (VET) system. It shows 77.6% of graduates are employed after training, with those employed full-time earning on average $57 400 per year. Those who train as part of a trade apprenticeship or traineeship fare particularly well with 91.4% employed after completion.

Published by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), Student outcomes 2014 provides information on VET students’ employment outcomes, and satisfaction with their training.

The survey also identifies the benefits for VET graduates:

  • 72.5% of those employed after training gained at least one job-related benefit resulting from their training.
  • 59.7% improved their employment status after training.
  • 44.4% of those that weren’t employed before training are employed after.
  • 14.8% of those who already had a job are employed at a higher level after training.

The results are positive for student satisfaction. 87.6% of graduates are satisfied with the overall quality of their training, and 90.2% would recommend their training provider.  While 77.9% of graduates find their training relevant to their current job.

All data in Student outcomes 2014 is derived from the Student Outcomes Survey which is conducted in the first half of each year on behalf of Australian, state and territory governments.

Over 42 000 students who completed their training with government funding or with a government supported VET provider in 2013 participated in the survey.

Copies of Australian vocational education and training statistics: Student outcomes 2014 are available from www.ncver.edu.au/publications/2755.html

Avoiding Workplace Bullying

Workplace bullying can occur in any work environment, from offices to shops, community organisations and government departments. Employers have a legal responsibility under Occupational Health and Safety and anti-discrimination law to provide a safe workplace and one which is free from verbal, physical, social or psychological abuse. Bullying can have serious effects on the health and safety of individuals, which in turn can result in a loss in productivity with legal ramifications for the employer.

So how do we avoid bullying in the workplace?

Every organisation should have policies which outline how people are to treat each other at work. Commonly called a ‘Code of Conduct’, the policy should be easily accessible to all staff and outline what is (and is not) appropriate behaviour. In addition, the actions that will be taken to deal with unacceptable behaviour should also be detailed in workplace policies, as well as internal grievance procedures.

Is there a better way to address bullying?

At the recent 22nd Labour Law Conference in Sydney, Jonathan Hamberger (Senior Deputy President of Fair Work Australia) told the audience he believes “the key to tackling bullying in the workplace lies with line managers”. This will only be effective if the manager has an appropriate level of authority to resolve these issues, combined with superior people management skills and interpersonal skills.

An effective line manager should have the following people management skills:

  • great communication skills
  • the ability to build relationships
  • willingness to take responsibility
  • being open and transparent in their actions

Through the use of external assessment tools in the hiring and/or promotion process, these skills can be identified and assist the decision making procedure. Being able to identify the behaviours you are after, is the first step to ensuring you have the right candidate for the role and who will suit your organisation. There are also many training opportunities for managers to develop anti-bullying strategies to cover obligations, responsibilities and leadership skills.

Managers can be held liable for acts of unlawful discrimination, harassment or bullying even if they were not directly involved in the actual incident. Managers not only need to protect their employees, but also themselves against future lawsuits!

When line managers have the opportunity to deal with bullying issues at a workplace level, the social and psychological costs (to both the victim and organisation) are reduced. Not to mention the financial costs. The formal channels will always exist, supported by the Fair Work Commission, as well as legal processes.

With more effective and skilled line managers, staff making claims of bullying and harassment can be a very rarely used last resort.

What are you doing in your organisation to avoid workplace bullying?

Using Harrison Assessments to develop staff

workplace training

In our experience, a well-planned combination of tools and activities gives the best outcomes when coaching and training employees.

Here’s an example where Harrison Assessments was used as part of an integrated approach to staff development.

How could you use an integrated approach to staff development in your organisation?

Universities Australia deal to get students ‘work ready’

By Alexandra Hansen, 26 February 2014    The Conversation logo

Universities Australia has announced an agreement with business groups to collaborate on vocational training to improve the employability of graduates.

Universities Australia chair Sandra Harding made the announcement in Canberra today. The agreement will assist students in undertaking Work Integrated Learning. This includes work placements accredited for university course work, mentoring and shadowing programs, and internships.

Universities Australia chief executive Belinda Robinson pointed to the closure of manufacturing plants in Victoria as evidence that university graduates need to be equipped with on-the-job skills in an increasingly competitive job market.

The signatories to the agreement include Universities Australia, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Business Council of Australia, among others.

One of Australia’s leading voices on education policy, Dr Gavin Moodie of RMIT, described the announcement as a positive but only preliminary step to increase understanding and cooperation in expanding work-integrated learning.

“Much more will be needed to convert this statement of goodwill into increased and improved work-integration learning,” Dr Moodie told The Conversation today.

He said Australian universities have long incorporated work experience in some of their programs, such as medicine, law, and nursing. Over the past decade, they have sought to offer Work Integrated Learning in more programs to all students who wish to participate.

“Universities are expanding Work Integrated Learning because they believe it enriches students’ learning, it makes graduates more employable, and it responds to employers’ wishes.”

One of the challenges, he said, is finding enough work experience opportunities for students.

“This is particularly ironic in view of employers increasingly seeking graduates who are ‘work ready’.

“As the Australian Workforce Productivity Agency responds, some employers don’t seem to be ‘graduate ready’,” Dr Moodie said.

For vocational training to become a permanent and successful aspect of university degrees across the board, Dr Moodie suggested it cannot be orchestrated purely by peak university and employer bodies. Individual employers, including small to medium-sized employers, will need to work with universities.


Update: Professor of International Education Simon Marginson said work and education are qualitatively different social sites, and should remain so.

“Education provides skills and knowledge useful both short term and long term, but can only provide broad or generic training for work, even in specific professional courses like engineering or law, “ he said.

“If education is tailored too closely to particular jobs or workplaces it becomes inflexible – the skills are not readily moved to other places,” he said.

Marginson said good quality generic training produces mobile, flexible graduates. While they still have much “on-the-job” learning to do, they can only learn to be specific job-ready in the particular job they undertake after study.

He says the vocational training provided by universities should be generic training, such as how to search for opportunities, how to write a resume, and how to succeed in a job interview.

The Conversation

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

Not everyone wants to learn, you know…

Have you ever tried training someone and felt like you were getting nowhere?

This was one of my early HR lessons: We can’t assume everyone wants to learn and develop their skills.

In some workplaces and some roles, you will find people who just want to get on with the job they were employed to do. They may even see training as an added imposition from the employer, rather than an opportunity to grow their skill set.

Sometimes, they will be learning in another area of life, perhaps a hobby, that is more fulfilling to them. Work is just the means to earn the money to fund what really matters. For them, work is not a way to grow. Work provides for their basic needs so they can grow in other areas.

If you value life-long learning it can be a challenge to see this perspective. Even more challenging if you are the manager of someone with this attitude – especially if you’ve hired a person for their cultural fit, confident that through training they will acquire the skills they need.

How does it happen?

Part of the difficulty is that this lack of motivation to learn is not always apparent or articulated. Imagine the salesperson who is not meeting budget but continues to believe they are doing all they can to bring in the business. When their manager suggests making changes, the salesperson pushes back, blaming the market, lack of support and other causes rather than reflecting on what they could learn that would improve their performance.

The salesperson above is likely to be quite self-accepting, feeling good about themselves. This is how we want a salesperson to be. On the other hand, the self-acceptance needs to be balanced with a recognition that they can still improve but developing further. If the desire to become better at what they do is absent, the result is a tendency to respond defensively to constructive feedback.

Have you tried to manage someone like this? 

Would it be useful for you to know why they act in this way?

We can help you find out – even before you hire someone – and prevent the frustration you feel. Contact us for more information.

 

Critical skill shortage 1: Communication

Last week’s article on the ‘Top 5’ critical skills in short supply in Banking and Finance generated a lot of interest.

As a result of your feedback, we’re going to spend the next few weeks looking at each of the 5 areas of skill shortage in turn – beginning with communication – and give you some practical tips for survival.

For a quick summary of what you can do right now,  see our earlier post ‘The five step skills shortage strategy’.

Without excellent communication skills in all your staff, you will find they can’t:

  • build good relationships with clients
  • provide customer service that meets your clients’ expectations and needs
  • explain things well to clients
  • understand what clients need
  • sell your services and/or products
  • work together productively

From just that short list, imagine what poor communication could be costing your business!  But how can you know?

Signs you might have a problem:

  • customer complaints or (worse) losing clients who just leave without telling you why
  • low levels of business referrals (see previous articles on this topic)
  • lack of cooperation and teamwork, maybe some bullying
  • careless and/or expensive errors
  • losing good staff to competitors

What can you do about it?

1.  Be a positive role model

Communicate regularly and openly with your clients and staff.  Make sure this includes listening to what they have to say to you.

2.  Diagnose communication skills gaps

There are many tools and approaches on the market to help you do this.  We would be happy to help you find the right one for you.

3.  Fill the gaps

This may require drastic action that involves one or all of the following:

  • putting poor communicators where they can do the least amount of damage
  • improving the skills of your existing staff through training and coaching
  • hiring staff with the communication skills you want

If there are communication problems in your team, I guarantee without your intervention things can only get worse.  What do you plan to do about it?

 

"The last couple of years at batyr has seen incredible growth and the Balance at Work team has supported us along the way. They have helped us improve leadership skills across the team by helping us source and manage mentors, and even engaging as mentors themselves. As a young and fresh CEO Susan has also supported me personally with genuine feedback and fearless advice to achieve great things. "
By Sam Refshauge, CEO, batyr
"We used the Harrison Assessment tools followed by a debrief with Susan, for career development with staff, which then allowed us to work with Susan to create a customised 360 degree review process. Susan has a wealth of knowledge and is able to offer suggestions and solutions for our company. She is always ready to get involved and takes the time to show her clients the capability of Harrison Assessments. "
By Jessica Hill, Head of People and Culture, Choice
"Balance at Work are the ideal external partners for us as they completely get what we are trying achieve in the People and Culture space. Their flexibility and responsiveness to our needs has seen the entire 360 approach being a complete success. The online tool and the follow up coaching sessions have been game changers for our business. The buzz in the organisation is outstanding. Love it! Thanks again for being such a great support crew on this key project."
By Chris Bulmer, National GM Learning and Development, ISS Australia
"We use Harrison Assessments with our clients to support their recruitment processes. We especially value the comprehensive customisable features that allow us to ensure the best possible fit within a company, team and position. Balance at Work is always one phone call away. We appreciate their valuable input and their coaching solutions have also given great support to our clients."
By Benoit Ribe, HR Solutions Manager, Polyglot Group
"The leadership team at Insurance Advisernet engaged Susan from Balance at Work to run our leadership development survey and learning sessions. Susan was very professional in delivering the team and individual strengths and opportunities for growth. Susan's approach was very "non corporate" in style which was refreshing to see. I can't recommend Balance at Work more highly to lead, employee and team development sessions."
By Shaun Stanfield, Managing Director, Insurance Advisernet

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