According to Dan Pink in his book, Drive, there are three components to driving motivation within employees, namely Purpose, Mastery and Autonomy. He argues that essentially people want to understand how their role fits into the overall goal of the business, they need the skills to do it and finally they flourish when given the freedom to execute.
Purpose and Autonomy are pretty self explanatory so let’s explore Mastery in some further detail. Mastery does not imply that you must be the best or that you have nothing further to learn. Rather mastery is viewed as a journey; it is this pursuit of constant learning that enables you to adapt to changing circumstances and ultimately strive towards constant improvement. The more common term to this is ongoing professional development.
Many organizations are looking for ways to enhance the levels of contribution of their employees and ongoing professional development is certainly a key component of this. But when is training right and what are some of the pitfalls? Here are a few tips.
- Developmental opportunities should be driven firmly by organization needs. It should not be perceived as an employee benefit or to meet a training hour goal.
- Accountability of the trainee should be built in. This can be in the form of a project submission or an exam but something that ensures that there is means of measuring commitment and retention of what has been learned.
- The integration of the learning back into the organization cannot be overlooked (though it is often forgotten). When people go back to their busy responsibilities what accommodations are being made to practice their new skills?
If these are followed or used as criteria for training, the thorny issue of what is Return on Investment lessens. In truth training can rarely be assessed in such tangible forms as money, but if its benefits can be demonstrated through improved processes, behaviors and / or activities, then this will become an acceptable alternative.
So rather than asking what will be the ROI, simply ask what will be different as a result of this training and how will we know. If you get an acceptable answer. then the training is right.