Training Transfer: Importance of Trust
By: Matthew Hurtienne, Ph.D.
As our organizations become leaner, our training and development teams have to be more innovative on how training is delivered. No matter how hard you try, a portion of the learners will only remember a small part of what is covered, unless we determine better ways to engage each learner in the learning process. Sometimes what is needed is not always better technology, but often it is just taking the time to build stronger relationships.
For any training to be effective, the learner needs to be able to transfer what was covered in training and then transfer that knowledge and skills to their job. This training transfer is a required element for individual, team, and organizational effectiveness. According to Grohmann and Kauffeld (2003), transfer of training consists of three different elements. Application to practice looks at the extent of what is learned and how it is applied to the work setting. Individual results takes a closer look at the outcomes related to the employee directly, and global organizational results are related to the total impact to the organization.
When transfer of training is low, the ROI to your organization is also low. There are many concepts experts have discussed that can and do improve the transfer of training; however, today, we will bring light to the impact that “trust” has on learning transfer. Walter Anderson said, “We’re never so vulnerable than when we trust someone – but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy” (Covey, 2012, p. 05). Trust places a person, or a group, in a vulnerable position, but it also establishes a relationship that breeds production. According to Covey (2012), when trust goes down, speed goes down, and cost goes up. Therefore, when trust decreases, steps need to be taken to compensate for the decrease. The results of decreased trust will “create costly delays” (p.15) due to “miscommunication, redundancy, and rework” (p. 15).
Organizations can be thought of as families; “families have greater trust when they are aligned, when they have structures and systems that recognize values and reward high-trust behaviors” (Covey, 2006, p. 258). According to Reina & Reina (1999), organizational trust will increase creativity and critical thinking at the level of the employee, along with higher levels of organizational trust. With the higher levels of trust and effective training plans, organizations will see employee performance that surpasses their expectations.
In closing, organizations with high-trust levels will see outcomes of employees willing to share critical information, increased collaboration, and a greater sense of transparency (Covey, 2006). However, organizations with lower trust levels will see lower productivity, increased meetings, and increased levels of fear. Taking the time to improve trust within your organization will have a positive impact with your training results and organizational improvement.
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