Importance of training

Is it a training problem?

Getting to the root of an employee’s performance problem may not be as easy as you think. What you may believe to be a training problem may well be, for instance, a motivation issue that can’t be solved by training.

If it is a motivation issue, then training is not the answer.  You've probably seen it before:  an employee who was always on top of his or her game stops performing. Why did the employee’s performance change?

  • Did the company eliminate bonuses?
  • Is there new leadership making changes quickly without communicating with employees?
  • Is the company in the middle of layoffs?
  • Is the individual burned out?
  • Is there trouble at home?

Are these questions you consider when determining whether or not the person needs training?

What if the issue is a resource problem?

  • Does the employee have what he or she needs to perform effectively?

If the employee knows how, but can’t, then there may be a resource issue: something is blocking good performance.

There is also the person who just doesn’t want to do the job. No amount of training will help that person. You can put him or her on a performance plan, or provide a mentor to help along the way, but the reality is if the person is not interested in improving job performance, then nothing short of termination will correct that problem.

Is “The Fix” the answer?

You know the common trap that many managers fall into by seeing training as a “The Fix,” even if it is not indicated and will not be effective.  Here are few questions which could add value and help you realize the problem may not include a training intervention and may assist you in assessing an employee’s performance problem so that you might consider other, possibly better, solutions.

  • Knows how + doesn’t want to = Motivation problem
  • Knows how + wants to = Resource problem
  • Doesn’t know how + doesn’t want to = Employee is in the wrong job
  • Wants to + doesn’t know how = Training

“The Fix” is often expected to solve every personnel problem the manager cannot solve or chooses not to address. You should clearly understand the difference between a training issue and a performance issue. If the employee can’t do it, it may well be a training issue. If the employee won’t do it, it is more likely a management issue. If the manager chooses not to deal with the employee’s low performance, then it may be that it is the manager who needs training to learn to effectively assess and resolve employee performance issues.