All courses great and small: the benefits of customised training

Wednesday, February 17, 2016 - 10:40

By Scott Martin - State Manager AIM Queensland and Northern Territory

Strategic thinking and planning is nothing new, albeit not as common as one would expect. For those organisations that have mapped out where they’re heading over the coming years there is often a substantial disconnect between the destination and the collective skills available to them within the confines of the organisation. Breaching this capability gap will always be a balance between recruiting the required talent versus developing existing employees who are invested in the organisation’s direction.

It’s this very linkage to the organisation’s mission, vision and values that can make in-house training so powerful.    Every industry and almost every business is unique, dictating that individual businesses can benefit greatly from a unique approach to development with often a diverse combination of solutions. Matching the right capabilities to organisational needs and backing this up with an investment in learning and development will ensure business success as well as an engaged and motivated workforce.

AIM Tailored Learning Solutions develops customised training and education programs to address an organisation’s specific learning and development needs. There are generally three questions people have when they’re deciding if customised training is the best solution for their people.

How do you determine the best training solution for an organisation?

We take a consultative approach to each interaction. The ‘AIM way’ dictates that we construct a detailed brief to understand the background that has led to the enquiry. This begins with understanding the business’ needs, strategy and the audience involved and the required outcomes or ‘future state’ the client is seeking. This sets a foundation for providing a complete solution and making sure we deliver on outcomes, not just tick a box. When done right, the process works, not just for the client but there’s also less risk for AIM.  Sometimes group training might not be the answer as performance management or an individual coaching intervention may meet the true underlying need.

Why do organisations choose a custom training solution?

There can be a wide variety of reasons but generally the organisiation has a unique set of requirements that means that AIM’s standard courses are not exactly what’s required:

  1. Larger groups – Where organisations have approximately eight or more people with similar requirements taking a course “in-house” allows for some initial cost efficiencies but then the added benefits listed below become available.
  2. Content and or delivery requires contextualization – When it comes to learning context is key. If you really want people to learn, understand and apply that learning in the workplace then give them context. That could include tweaking the language, changing case studies and exercises and utilising examples that relate to their day to day workplace and industry.
  3. Teambuilding / Employee Engagement – Possibly the greatest benefit that we often see from corporate groups is the power of the cohort to energise and engage. Whether it’s a one day Time Management course that breaks down common time wasters or a larger leadership program that feeds into the companies continuous improvement process, working closely together with colleagues is rarely a bad thing.
  4. Get the learning you want, when you want it – Customisation can also include extending or reducing time, weekend workshops and also adding and reducing content to meet your very specific requirements. At AIM we work hard to nail down agreed learning outcomes within the available parameters.
  5. Unique solutions – More and more companies are looking for the real world application of learning and a clear ROI. At AIM, we try to develop all of our corporate solutions within the 70:20:10 framework and where possible we look to partner with clients to deliver on not just the 10% but importantly the 20% and 70% that feeds back into the workplace.
  6. Group training with an individual spin on things – The pairing of group training with individual coaching and or mentoring support provides for the best of both worlds. Whilst the majority of learning is done under a cohort model, the power of 3-4 individual coaching sessions tagged on can hypercharge the application at grass roots level and allows for each member of the group to fine tune to their own needs.

What changes do organisations often see among their workers after a customised intervention?

At AIM we focus every course and intervention on the application of learning. The aim is to give delegates a toolkit they can take back into the workplace and use immediately in their own roles. That might be a set of templates for project managing or running meetings or a simple framework for powerful public speaking. Regardless of whether that involves better delegating, communication skills or project management, a course is only useful if staff take these lessons and apply them to their work.

There's also a byproduct in the very strong link between engagement and training. When staff know their employer is willing to invest in them and their skills they are more likely to be invested in the organisation and committed to business outcomes. It's hard to measure, but it's one of the core benefits we can offer to our clients.