Why Training Often Goes Wasted

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No matter how good the trainer, many training efforts go to waste without a "management commitment to a well-organized training culture," an organization can expect only negligible benefits, according to one expert.

Speaking to the Floyd Forum Leadership Conference, Dick Kendall, a speaker and author who has been with the meeting's sponsor, John M. Floyd & Associates, since 1994, told the meeting, "Management commitment is more than a passing nod to the need for training. It is its dedication and assurance that money and resources, qualified trainers and satisfactory settings, as well as adequate time for training, are integral elements of a first class training program. Thriving, progressive organizations of every size generally make training an endemic feature of their strategic growth plans."

Kendall, who was a co-founder of Allied Bancshares and who has consulted with more than 400 companies, said the best financial institution trainers have years of in-depth financial services. "Teaching experience is a plus, but it is generally trumped by "the love of training...being in front of a group."

Hiring trainers from within may accelerate the "message buy-in" of those being trained, but hiring trainers from outside can also bring "innovative, challenging perspectives."

"The best trainers are themselves well trained," said Kendall. "By that, I mean they clearly understand the training objectives and know the audience. Their content is organized, timed and has powerful openings and closings. They include trainee participation, a lively use of props and a careful preparation of the physical environment."

Kendall said the touchstones of a valid training curriculum should include:

* Orientation, to quickly introduce new hires into the corporate culture.

* Job skills, the basics of how to do their job.

* Regulations-continuous training in the ever-changing regulatory environment.

* People skills (customer service, management); communication skills with customers and fellow employees.

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