AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
Presents a three-level model to enable the design and conduct of an audit of training and development developed from the authors' consultancy experience working with training and development managers and specialists from diverse medium and large organizations. Describes three levels - event/programme, function and organization levels. Considerably extends the framework first described by one of the authors in an earlier article. This extended model permits the bench-marking of training and development against established best practice. Use of the model enables the identification of where an organization's training and development can be considered successful and where challenges and opportunities for improvement exist.
In The Frontiers of Excellence Robert Waterman has published powerful evidence to demonstrate that the short-term goal of putting profits first is actually harmful to long-term profitability and that "people centred" organizations are the key to long-term organizational health and prosperity. Training and development (T & D) must accept the challenge of being a major contributor in this people centred approach, even providing leadership by example as well as seeking to influence. Furthermore the imperative is also to ensure that training budgets are delivering 100 per cent effectiveness.
Organizations have always been concerned about the value for money they get from their training budgets. Pressures for organizational change such as the need for movement towards the leanest of structures and the transformation of organizational culture by becoming a learning organization, empowerment, only add to the pressures. Unfortunately, much investigative work has revealed that training is rarely as effective as desired. However, much is known about how to achieve good training and development results. Such ideas provide the basis for training and development "best practice". Auditing T & D can enable the identification of where an organization is successful and where challenges and opportunities for improvement exist. Therefore the concept of auditing T & D must be developed across a very broad spectrum.
Some earlier models for auditing T & D concentrated for the most part on issues to do with auditing specific programmes. This now seems too narrow an approach and so this article is an attempt to develop the auditing model further by bringing together and integrating a variety of ideas which are seen to represent training best practice. As a result we do not claim that the ideas represented here are complete. Indeed the reader should be able to extend the lists of criteria we indicate from their own knowledge and experience.
The main authors whose ideas contributed to the development of our thinking include the following - Roger Buckley and Jim Caple, Peter Bramley and Heather Hullah, Brian P. Murphy and Richard A. Swanson, Michael Applegarth, and Roger Bennett. Other authors writing on related subjects have also contributed in ways that are sometimes difficult to recognize and therefore give due acknowledgement. They include Tom Peters, Peters and Austin, Peter Senge[9,10], J. Stevens and R. Mackay, and Ronnie Lessem[12,13].
We have incorporated these broad ideas into a three-level model which is illustrated in Figure 1 and elaborated on in the sections that follow.
Level 1 - event level
The systematic approach to training involves the application of a number of processes, skills and techniques to a sequence of wide-ranging activities. In theory at least, the system should be self-maintaining. However that will not just happen because a series of arrows on a diagram indicate that this is the case. There needs to be some form of superor-dinate control function which monitors the system to ensure that it works properly. Auditing training at the event level performs this function. It must be emphasized that this function is quite separate from, and should not be confused with, validation and evaluation. The aim of the training audit, at this level, is to find out if a systematic approach to training is being applied. It should provide information or feedback on whether procedures exist and, if so, whether or not they are operating effectively. This could lead to recommendations on the improvement or establishment of procedures.
The audit process involves a detailed examination of a particular training programme or event to see if every stage of its design, implementation and validation has been carried out properly. This kind of audit can be divided into five phases. As they are described here, they relate to a "course" but with appropriate adjustments they are equally applicable to other training/learning strategies.
The ideas involved in this first level are illustrated in Figure 2.
Phase one: familiarization and origins of the event
In order to put the current training into perspective it will be necessary to ascertain at the outset how it was conceived. Did it have proactive or reactive beginnings? If the former, information will have to be sought from departments responsible for manpower planning and such activities as management development. With reactive training it will be important to establish how the performance problem, which gave rise to this solution, was investigated. Whatever the origins of the event some attempt should be made to ascertain whether or not a clear link was or can be established between corporate, departmental or unit objectives and the objectives of the event.
The sources of information that could be referred to are many and varied. For example, with respect to a training course, besides the training programme and training manual, reference may need to be made to such sources as past and present members of the training department, records/documents, and/or reports concerning the course.
Phase two: auditing the client
Sometimes, at the familiarization stage, it is difficult to …