Blog / When Training is the Answer …… and When it is Not

Having problems with an employee’s performance is never a good thing. It can be tricky to resolve though, as unless you’re working directly with that person each day you’ll more often than not be relying on feedback from their manager to tell you that there is an issue and just what exactly that issue is. But how can you be sure their manager is identifying the true reason for the poor performance?

The manager in question might decide that the employee requires further training in order to deal with their performance problem. Unfortunately, all too often managers see training as a sort of quick fix for problems, even if they can’t really be sure that it will be effective.

Susan Nunn, a training professional, states “trainers are often expected to solve every personnel problem that the manager cannot or does not want to address…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 management doesn’t deal with it, then it may be that it is the manager who needs training to learn to deal with the issue!”

When training won’t work

dentification of training need grid

There are plenty of instances in business where extra training or refresher training simply will not help an employee improve. This is knowing the difference between a training issue and a performance issue. The above grid (source)was created to help people determine when training will work and when it won’t to save individuals being sent for expensive training that won’t improve anything.

If the individual knows how to do their job and deliver the performance expected of them but simply chooses not to, then further training will not help. The issue there lies with motivation, and instead of sending the person for training you should be looking at ways to motivate them in their role. Perhaps they aren’t being challenged enough, perhaps they aren’t feeling valued or they simply don’t enjoy their job.

Another instance in which training will not work is if the person in question doesn’t know how to deliver the performance expected of them, but also doesn’t want to. In this case training will be a waste of time, as the person won’t deliver the right results whether they know how to or not. This type of individual is usually working in the wrong job and you’d be better placed looking at their role within the company.

When training is the answer

A training solution is only effective if the individual wants to perform well in their work, but isn’t sure how to. In this instance training is the absolute best way to deal with a lack of performance. Training will show the employee exactly what they need to do in order to deliver the performance that is expected of them.

So, next time one of your managers or team leaders comes to you to report that an employee isn’t performing and suggests that training is required, consider if this is truly the case. Speak with the manager who is suggesting training to see what their reasons for believing this will solve the issue at hand. Make your managers aware of the grid and make sure they know the difference between an individual who needs training and an individual whom training will not work for.

Do you want to provide training to help improve leadership and management skills in your business?

We provide ILM accredited and non-accredited training programmes for managers that can be tailored to meet the specific needs of your business. Please get in touch with Liz Metin to see how we may be able to help.