Today's guest blog is by Andrea Zimmerman, Director of Organizational Performance and Development for Signature Worldwide.
An important part of Signature’s process is the assessment. Clients want something that is built for their particular business and employee population. This ensures that the message communicated during the training event is heard by the participants – and that the message sticks.
The purpose of a training needs assessment is to identify requirements and the knowledge, skills and abilities required to achieve optimal levels of performance. It uncovers the gap between actual and desired performance. The goal is to then design training that closes those gaps through developing the right competencies in employees.
Sounds easy, right? The truth is, there is an art and science to an effective assessment and having the right consultant can make all the difference. It seems easy to have a checklist of criteria or sources of data against which you measure performance and gaps - but a good consultant does more.
The question that you might be asking yourself, then, is what does a Learning Consultant do to make an assessment legendary?
Here are a few critical success factors of a Learning Consultant’s job that ensure a successful journey.
- A legendary Learning Consultant learns about your organizational structure, culture and employees’ motivational factors; then uses this information to compliment the design of content, facilitation and experiential activities. This is what makes the training specific to your company and employees. It’s what creates the link for participants between the training and your company’s goals and employees’ motivational to learn, which increases adoption of new behaviors.
- A legendary Learning Consultant helps prepare you and your organization for change. Many consultants and companies do a good, even great, job of designing and conducting a successful training event. Many even do a good job of following up and measuring results after training. What is often overlooked is the importance of preparing the organization for training. Training people to learn and use new skills is the introduction of a change to daily routines. A great Learning Consultant will ask questions about your communication plan (and even help you create it if needed) to make sure that the right information is being introduced to the organization at the right time, make recommendations for how to gain demonstrated alignment within your leadership team and will provide consultation to you to make sure that you have the right tools to lead the charge.
- A legendary Learning Consultant points out potential roadblocks and helps you eliminate them. Consultants are partners, meaning that they have an interest in you, your business and ultimately, your success; because your success is their success. To ensure success, roadblocks to learning need to be identified and eliminated – or at least mitigated. The potential roadblocks to training can be infinite, ranging from individual resistance from an individual or group of participants, inadequate support from the organization and/or not have the right equipment or space to conduct the training. An effective Learning Consultant will gather information to help you identify roadblocks and strategies for eliminating them.
- A legendary Learning Consultant begins with the end in mind. Before starting a journey, the seasoned traveler identifies the destination and creates a clear road map for how to get there. It is no different with training. A legendary Learning Consultant will first learn about your goals – or your destination – to assess how to best get there. Your ultimate goal dictates the best solution. A good Learning Consultant will provide guidance in how to best achieve your performance or organizational goals. This means making sure that the learning objectives, content, structure, activities and measurement are aligned with that goal. Sometimes, the best solution isn’t even training – and a Learning Consultant shouldn’t be afraid to tell you if that’s the case!
This, of course, isn’t a comprehensive list of responsibilities of a legendary Learning Consultant but they are key differentiators that will ensure that your training journey is successful.
Does your Learning Consultant measure up? If not, don’t settle. At Signature Worldwide, our Learning Consultants are highly trained and have the right experience to help you achieve your goals. And, we can’t wait to partner with you!