Training is about the 'when' as well as the 'what'

Published on 2011-06-30

Source:klynslis @ Flickr
THERE IS A LOT OF DISCUSSION about how to measure the results of training undertaken (Check out my colleague Jamie Dixon’s blogs and articles on this issue).  However, one often overlooked element of the training is related to scheduling.
In a recent discussion I was having with an HR director of a multinational logistics organisation, I asked her how she went about setting the training schedule for the upcoming calendar year and how she would ensure that the needs of her team were being met.  To my shock, she said, “Well summer is best, because it is not peak season, and many people go on vacation so many decisions must wait until all managers are back, so employees have ‘free time’ “.
Now upon hearing this, one would think, sure, that’s logical.  But let me implore you to remember a high school class you took and some of the content.  Would you be able to spot an algorithm? Or correctly tell me what mitochondria do now, or even six weeks after you took the exam? (I couldn’t!). That’s because we crammed for exams, and if we aren’t using this kind of information on a daily basis, it gets filed in the back of our brains unless properly reinforced through action and coaching.
Simply put, in order for knowledge to be useful, it must be used, and repeated, until it becomes habitual.
So returning to the above scenario, should you deliver a time management course, in the low season? Or train a manager how to motivate their team, when the manager’s team is away on holiday?
Remember, the best training programs here in China, and around the world, are not only relevant, but are also timely.