Tip #912:  Training Won’t Solve Everything. Make Sure You Have the Right Target Audience.

“There is no magic wand that can solve our problems. The solution rests with our work and discipline.” Jose Eduardo dos Santos

If you’ve ever been responsible for scheduling training programs in an organization, you have probably experienced this scenario. A manager contacts you to arrange a training program. One of his staff isn’t performing up to expectations and the manager has decided the best way to handle it is to send all his employees to training.

What’s wrong with this picture?

What’s going on?

First, the manager is avoiding his responsibility to give timely and constructive performance feedback and coaching to the individual performer.

Second, we don’t know why the employee isn’t meeting expectations. Is the job new or has the job changed? Does the employee know how to perform the job? Have the performance expectations been made clear? Are the performance expectations realistic? Are there special circumstances that keep the employee from optimal performance? Has the employee received timely constructive feedback and coaching? Does the employee even know that he isn’t performing up to expectations?

Note that all of these questions could be quickly answered if the manager would simply sit down with the employee and listen to the employee’s answers.

Who really needs training?

Third, the manager has identified the wrong target audience for the training program. It may be possible that there is an employee who is not performing up to expectations. But unless this is a training issue (the employee never learned how to perform correctly), it is really a management development issue. The manager needs to learn how to communicate clear and measurable performance expectations, give constructive performance feedback, and coach his employees. These are essential management skills that this manager appears to lack.

How to handle the situation

So, what should you do when faced with this situation? Conduct an informal needs assessment by asking the manager to answer the questions listed above. By the time you ask if the manager has given the employee performance feedback, hopefully, the manager will start to see his role in the situation. Then you can offer to schedule the manager for the relevant management training.

It is imperative that you get to the heart of the matter with the manager. Point out that the employees who meet expectations already know who doesn’t. Having to attend this training would be a slap in their faces rather than a pat on their backs for doing what is expected. Help the manager see that his original training idea will have negative repercussions on employee morale and his own credibility.

Action Step: Make sure you are training the right people for the right reason.

May your learning be sweet- and safe.


#performancemanagement #trainingneedsassessment #trainingtargetaudience

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