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8.3 Training Delivery Methods

Learning Objective

  1. Explain the types of training delivery methods.

Depending on the type of training occurring, you may choose one delivery method over another. This section discusses the types of delivery methods we can use to execute the types of training. Keep in mind, however, that most good training programs will use a variety of delivery methods.

Wendy’s Grill Training, circa 1989

(click to see video)

This excellent training video was used at Wendy’s to teach employees how to grill the perfect burger. Although the video is over twenty years old, the concepts used in it are still true today.

On-the-Job Coaching Training Delivery

On-the-job coaching is one way to facilitate employee skills training. On-the-job coachingRefers to the training of an employee by an approved person to learn the skills necessary to complete the tasks. refers to an approved person training an employee on the skills necessary to complete tasks. A manager or someone with experience shows the employee how to perform the actual job. The selection of an on-the-job coach can be done in a variety of ways, but usually the coach is selected based on personality, skills, and knowledge. This type of skills training is normally facilitated in-house. The disadvantage of this training revolves around the person delivering the training. If he or she is not a good communicator, the training may not work. Likewise, if this person has “other things to do,” he or she may not spend as much time required to train the person and provide guidance. In this situation, training can frustrate the new employee and may result in turnover.

Figure 8.4

On-the-job coaching is similar to mentoring. Think of on-the-job coaching as more skills-based training, while mentoring is usually a training delivery method that is more long term and goes beyond just showing the employee skills to do the job.

Mentoring and Coaching Training Delivery

Mentoring is also a type of training delivery. A mentor is a trusted, experienced advisor who has direct investment in the development of an employee. MentoringA process by which an employee can be trained and developed, through use of an experienced person. is a process by which an employee can be trained and developed by an experienced person. Normally, mentoring is used as a continuing method to train and develop an employee. One disadvantage of this type of training is possible communication style and personality conflict. It can also create overdependence in the mentee or micromanagement by the mentor. This is more different than on-the-job coaching, which tends to be short term and focuses on the skills needed to perform a particular job.

Brown Bag Lunch Training Delivery

Brown bag lunches are a training delivery method meant to create an informal atmosphere. As the name suggests, brown bag lunch trainingTraining occurs during lunchtime, employees bring their lunch, and someone presents training information to them. is one in which the training occurs during lunchtime, employees bring their food, and someone presents training information to them. The trainer could be HR or management or even another employee showing a new technical skill. Brown bag lunches can also be an effective way to perform team training, as it brings people together in a more relaxed atmosphere. Some companies offer brown bag lunch training for personal development as well. For example, HR might want to bring in a specialist on 401(k) plans, or perhaps an employee provides a slide presentation on a trip he or she has taken, discussing the things learned on the trip. One disadvantage to this type of training can be low attendance and garnering enough interest from employees who may not want to “work” during lunch breaks. There can also be inconsistency in messages if training is delivered and not everyone is present to hear the message.

Human Resource Recall

What types of brown bag lunch training would employees be most willing to attend? Do you think this type of training should be required?

Web-Based Training Delivery

Web-based training delivery has a number of names. It could be called e-learning or Internet-based, computer-based, or technology-based learning. No matter what it is called, any web-based trainingInvolves the use of technology to facilitate training. involves the use of technology to facilitate training. There are two types of web-based learning. First, synchronousA web-based training delivery method in which the delivery uses instructor-led facilitation. learning uses instructor-led facilitation. AsynchronousA web-based training delivery method in which the delivery is self-directed. learning is self-directed, and there is no instructor facilitating the course. There are several advantages to web-based training. First, it is available on demand, does not require travel, and can be cost efficient. However, disadvantages might include an impersonal aspect to the training and limited bandwidth or technology capabilities.“Advantages and Disadvantages,” Web Based Training Information Center, accessed July 27, 2010, http://www.webbasedtraining.com/primer_advdis.aspx.

Web-based training delivery lends itself well to certain training topics. For example, this might be an appropriate delivery method for safety training, technical training, quality training, and professional training. However, for some training, such as soft-skills training, job skills training, managerial training, and team training, another more personalized method may be better for delivery. However, there are many different platforms that lend themselves to an interactive approach to training, such as Sun Microsystems’ Social Learning eXchange (SLX) training system, which has real-time video and recording capabilities. Hundreds of platforms are available to facilitate web-based training. DigitalChalk, for example, allows for both synchronous and asynchronous training and allows the instructor or human relations manager to track training progress and completion.DigitalChalk website, accessed August 12, 2010, http://www.digitalchalk.com/. Some companies use SharePoint, an intranet platform, to store training videos and materials.Microsoft’s SharePoint website, accessed August 12, 2010, http://sharepoint.microsoft.com/en-us/Pages/default.aspx. Blackboard and Angel (used primarily by higher education institutions) allows human resource managers to create training modules, which can be moderated by a facilitator or managed in a self-paced format. In any of the platforms available, media such as video and podcasts can be included within the training.

Considerations for selecting a web-based platform include the following:

  • Is there a one-time fee or a per-user fee?
  • Do the majority of your employees use a Mac or a PC, and how does the platform work with both systems?
  • Is there enough bandwidth in your organization to support this type of platform?
  • Is the platform flexible enough to meet your training needs?
  • Does the software allow for collaboration and multimedia?
  • Is there training for the trainer in adoption of this system? Is technical support offered?

Job Shadowing Training Delivery

Job shadowingA training delivery method that places an employee who already has the skills with another employee who wants to develop those skills. is a training delivery method that places an employee who already has the skills with another employee who wants to develop those skills. Apprenticeships use job shadowing as one type of training method. For example, an apprentice electrician would shadow and watch the journeyman electrician perform the skills and tasks and learn by watching. Eventually, the apprentice would be able to learn the skills to do the job alone. The downside to this type of training is the possibility that the person job shadowing may learn “bad habits” or shortcuts to performing tasks that may not be beneficial to the organization.

Fortune 500 Focus

It takes a lot of training for the Walt Disney Company to produce the best Mickey Mouse, Snow White, Aladdin, or Peter Pan. In Orlando at Disneyworld, most of this training takes place at Disney University. Disney University provides training to its 42,000 cast members (this is what Disney calls employees) in areas such as culinary arts, computer applications, and specific job components. Once hired, all cast members go through a two-day Disney training program called Traditions, where they learn the basics of being a good cast member and the history of the company. For all practical purposes, Traditions is a new employee orientation.

Training doesn’t stop at orientation, though. While all positions receive extensive training, one of the most extensive trainings are especially for Disney characters, since their presence at the theme parks is a major part of the customer experience. To become a character cast member, a character performer audition is required. The auditions require dancing and acting, and once hired, the individual is given the job of several characters to play. After a two-week intensive training process on character history, personalities, and ability to sign the names of the characters (for the autograph books sold at the parks for kids), an exam is given. The exam tests competency in character understanding, and passing the exam is required to become hired.Jim Hill, “Blood, Sweat, and Fur,” Jim Hill Media, May 2005, accessed July 30, 2011, http://jimhillmedia.com/guest_writers1/b/rob_bloom/archive/2005/05/03/1703.aspx.

While Disney University trains people for specific positions, it also offers an array of continuing development courses called Disney Development Connection. Disney says in 2010, more than 3,254,596 hours were spent training a variety of employees,“Training and Development,” Disney, accessed July 30, 2011, http://corporate.disney.go.com/citizenship2010/disneyworkplaces/overview/traininganddevelopment/. from characters to management. The training doesn’t stop at in-house training, either. Disney offers tuition reimbursement up to $700 per credit and pays for 100 percent of books and $100 per course for cost of other materials. In 2010, Disney paid over $8 million in tuition expenses for cast members.“Training and Development,” Disney, accessed July 30, 2011, http://corporate.disney.go.com/citizenship2010/disneyworkplaces/overview/traininganddevelopment/.

Disney consistently ranks in “America’s Most Admired Companies” by Fortune Magazine, and its excellent training could be one of the many reasons.

Job Swapping Training Delivery

Job swappingA method for training in which two employees agree to change jobs for a period of time. is a method for training in which two employees agree to change jobs for a period of time. Of course, with this training delivery method, other training would be necessary to ensure the employee learns the skills needed to perform the skills of the new job. Job swap options can be motivational to employees by providing a change of scenery. It can be great for the organization as well to cross-train employees in different types of jobs. However, the time spent learning can result in unproductive time and lost revenue.

Figure 8.5

Vestibule training is also known as “near site” training and can work great for many types of training needs, such as team training and technical training.

Vestibule Training Delivery

In vestibule trainingTraining is performed near-site in conference rooms, lecture rooms, and classrooms., training is performed near the worksite in conference rooms, lecture rooms, and classrooms. This might be an appropriate method to deliver orientations and some skills-based training. For example, to become a journeyman electrician, an apprentice performs job shadowing, on-the-job training, and vestibule training to learn the law and codes related to electricity installation. During the busy holiday season, Macy’s uses vestibule training to teach new hires how to use the cash register system and provides skills training on how to provide great customer service.Macy’s website, accessed July 27, 2010, http://www.macysjobs.com/about/.

Many organizations use vestibule training for technical training, safety training, professional training, and quality training. It can also be appropriate for managerial training, soft skills training, and team training. As you can tell, this delivery method, like web-based training delivery, is quite versatile. For some jobs or training topics, this may take too much time away from performing the actual “job,” which can result in lost productivity.

International Assignment Training

Since we are working within a global economy, it might be necessary to provide training to employees who are moving overseas or working overseas. Up to 40 percent of international assignments are terminated early because of a lack of international training.Sherry E. Sullivan and Howard Tu, “Preparing Yourself for an International Assignment,” Bnet, accessed September 15, 2011, http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1038/is_n1_v37/ai_14922926/. Ensuring success overseas is reliant upon the local employee’s learning how to navigate in the new country. The following topics might be included in this type of training:

  1. Cultural differences and similarities
  2. Insight and daily living in the country
  3. Social norms and etiquette
  4. Communication training, such as language skills

This training is best delivered by a professional in the region or area in which the employee will be working. We discuss this topic in more detail in Chapter 14 "International HRM".

Key Takeaways

  • Training delivery methods are important to consider, depending on the type of training that needs to be performed.
  • Most organizations do not use only one type of training delivery method; a combination of many methods will be used.
  • On-the-job coaching delivery method is a training delivery method in which an employee is assigned to a more experienced employee or manager to learn the skills needed for the job. This is similar to the mentor training delivery method, except a mentor training method is less about skills training and more about ongoing employee development.
  • Brown bag lunch training delivery is normally informal and can involve personal development as well as specific job-related skills.
  • Web-based training is any type of training that is delivered using technology.
  • There are numerous platforms that can be used for web-based training and considerations, such as cost, when selecting a platform for use.
  • A synchronous training method is used for web-based training and refers to delivery that is led by a facilitator. An asynchronous training method is one that is self-directed.
  • Job shadowing is a delivery method consisting of on-the-job training and the employee’s learning skills by watching someone more experienced.
  • To motivate employees and allow them to develop new skills, job swapping training delivery may be used. This occurs when two people change jobs for a set period of time to learn new skills. With this method, it is likely that other methods will also be used, too.
  • Vestibule training delivery is also known as “near site” training. It normally happens in a classroom, conference room, or lecture room and works well to deliver orientations and some skills-based training. Many organizations also use vestibule training for technical training, safety training, professional training, and quality training.
  • Since many companies operate overseas, providing training to those employees with international assignments can better prepare them for living and working abroad.

Exercises

  1. Do an Internet search on web-based training. Discuss two of the platforms you found. What are the features and benefits?
  2. Which training delivery method do you think you personally would prefer in a job and why?
  3. What do you see as advantages and disadvantages to each type of training method?