Friday 21 December 2018

A simple formula illustrates how training can be made effective

Effective training formula

Effective training formula

Change = Antecedent (A) + Behavior (B) + Consequences (C)


In this formula, the A stands for antecedent. In order for there to be a change in behavior in an intended direction, the trainee needs to understand what behavior is expected. A common scenario is for a manager to send an employee off to a seminar to improve his or her skills. An employee who seems disorganized might be sent to a “Time Management” course. To be effective, the manager should sit down with the employee and discuss what the current behavior is, what it should be and how the gap will be closed. In most cases, this does not happen because the manager assumes the instructor will take care of it. This discussion is vital in forming the shared expectation between manager and employee regarding what changes will take place. Without it, the employee may be unsure of where to direct his or her energy.


Following the training, some observable behavior (the B in the equation) will take place. If the training is effective, the behavior will match expectations; if not, the behavior may be the same as prior to the training, or may be in an unintended direction. Either way, the manager can watch the employee's actions to determine if the training achieved its objective.


The C stands for consequences. In order for changes in behavior to become ingrained, they should be reinforced. When the employee returns from training, the manager should sit down and discuss what has been learned. This will show the employee that the manager believes the activity was important and that changes are expected. The two should also periodically meet to discuss the ongoing effectiveness of the training. When the manager sees changes in behavior in the right direction, he or she should reinforce these by recognizing the changes and praising the individual. If the change was required in the context of performance goals, the reward system can also be used to reinforce the improvements.

If the behavior is not in the intended direction, the manager must act quickly to eradicate the behavior. In extreme cases, the consequences of not changing might be punishment, as in “A failure to make immediate and sustained improvements in your performance could lead to the termination of your employment”. Without consequences, there is no motive for change. However, it should be stressed that positive means of reinforcement are much more powerful than negative as motivators.

The following are examples of typical types of training for organizations:

  1. Specific skills training (using a given software package);

  2. On-the-job training;

  3. Supervisory skills (performance management, grievance handling);

  4. Interpersonal skills (conflict resolution);

  5. Leadership (motivational theory);

  6. Team training (bonding as a group);

  7. Professional development (continuing education programs, graduate degree programs);

  8. Executive development (executive M.B.A.);

  9. Personal development (time management);

  10. Health and safety (Joint Health and Safety Committee effectiveness);

  11. Emergency response (First Aid/CPR);

  12. Re-qualification (as applicable to licensing regulations);

  13. Remedial training (skills upgrades);

  14. Employee orientation;

  15. Special needs training (English as a second language); and

  16. Specific needs training (company policies on human rights and harassment).

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