David Bush is the director of graduate programs in human resource development and a professor of organizational psychology and human resource development in Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Bush’s teaching specialties include human resource metrics and statistics and organizational change management. Among his research interests are workplace diversity and the effects of gender and other factors on compensation.
Q. How can companies determine what training to provide employees as the economy shows signs of improvement?
Needs assessments are more critical than ever, since we must optimize the leverage of such investments and create effective data analysis, including ROI measures.
Choices of where to invest as the economy starts to pick up depend on projections about where the company needs to improve performance to be more competitive. Do not assume that the answer to these questions will be the same as it was prior to the economic decline.
Q. As companies continue to tighten budgets, what are some cost-effective ways to train employees?
Often the answer will be to invest in other means of performance improvement and to use training in a very targeted manner. Training is the most expensive solution. Use interventions that increase motivation and incentives. Focus on increased capacity. There are better tools that require the least investment in learning a new system.
Q. How can companies monitor training results?
Identify the appropriate metrics and then maintain regular measurements to allow charting progress. Keep your small group of data wizards busy and focused on the important stuff. Leaders should learn more about metrics and benchmarking so they can lead effectively. A leader who stands in front of the employees and confesses to ‘not having a clue about this stuff’ has lost the battle.
Q. What is the importance of corporate training in this economy?
Maintain your human capital as a precious asset like any other item in which you have invested millions. Otherwise, the value will vanish. Don’t forget that human capital and talent include those who lead teams and spend time with the clients who pay the bills. Keep their skills sharp, too.