Category Archives: Training

Training Delivers More with Goals

training goals resultsGoals that are integrated into leadership training create better outcomes. This is the message of a study published by the Academy of Management Learning & Education in 2012 (abstract here). In this detailed work by Johnson et al., 360-degree surveys were used to measure perceived changes in people who had participated in leadership development training. Some had goals included in the training program, while other leaders did not.

The study showed a strong correlation between goal-setting by the leaders and the changes witnessed by their followers and other stakeholders. The message is clear: goal-setting with action and follow up will deliver better ROI on the effort.

What can your organization do with this knowledge? Think about how training can be aligned with business priorities and the routine activities of those who participate in the training. Ask participants to create goals based on the new skills learned.

Here is an example of what we are talking about.

Training Topic: Better Communication with Direct-Reports

Desired Outcome: Leaders who go through this training will understand how regularly planned check-ins with their team members will improve communication and organizational performance. Leaders will be encouraged to build a routine business rhythm for these sessions.

Goal:  Leaders will change their calendars to allow for one regularly-scheduled 30-minute check in with each direct report each week starting in two weeks.

The next step, of course, is to follow up to see if these things are happening and the impact the meetings – or whatever the targeted action – are having on the organization. If the desired outcome is to build communication between team members and their leaders, check in with those team members to see if it’s happening. Do they see a difference? If so, you win!

Every situation will be different. Your organization’s follow-up and measurement strategy will vary with the training activities and goals. Just remember to build a goal-setting component into your training initiative to improve effectiveness and ROI.


Learning Dynamics has more than 30 years of experience helping clients develop and deliver effective training programs that improve organizational performance. Speak with us today to learn how we can help you as you are Investing in People™.



Maximize Training ROI: 4 Follow Up Steps

train follow up celebrateWhat is your plan to drive continuous change and improvement after training? Arguably, what happens after a training event, program or major initiative is as important as the content of the training itself.

We have seen organizations of every kind, some with a firm commitment to organizational change, and others (unfortunately) that have been less driven. Invariably, the companies in which senior leaders envision cultural changes to create brighter futures realize much great impact and return on their training dollars. Here are four tactics to make training stick with your people so it creates lasting change.

1. LEADERSHIP INVOLVEMENT: Leaders from first-level supervisors up to those who occupy the C-suite can make training more effective by understanding the content and emphasis of the coursework and talking about it whenever possible. As managers walk around, they should be asking questions about the training, reinforcing the messages, and most importantly, catching people doing something right. Positive reinforcement from a supervisor that is earned for implementing new behaviors will have a lasting effect.

2. REPETITION: It has been said that repetition is the mother of learning. Mother or father, repetition works. This can be accomplished with ongoing reinforcement training, check-ins with employees to review the action items from training and the execution of the new skills, and written materials like newsletters, job aids and online refreshers.

3. COACHING: If managers make a habit of asking newly trained employees about how they are integrating their new skills into their routines, it will send the message that the training effort is important and change is expected. Try questions like this: How can you use your new skills to improve your results in this area? What are the things you learned in the training that you could use to do your job better? Allow trainees to think and integrate new skills into their work.

4. WATCH THE SCOREBOARD: What change are you trying to create? How will you know that you have been successful? If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it, so create a tool to track effectiveness in the targeted and trained areas. For example, if you are training to improve customer service, measure customer satisfaction. If you train employees to suggest additional products and services, survey customers to see if they are doing it or use mystery shoppers. With some creativity, every training initiative can be evaluated for its effectiveness. Finally, celebrate success. When the numbers move, make a big deal of it! Everyone must know that the training has produced results.

Consistent execution of these steps will send the message to everyone that training is important and behavioral changes are expected. Monitor what happens, reinforce positive behaviors, and celebrate victories. Training with solid follow-up will be far more productive and profitable for any organization.


Learning Dynamics can consult with your company to assess performance gaps and training needs and offer after-training services to maximize success. Talk with one of our Consultants today for information on how we can help you with a custom solution to accelerate change and improve results at your company.



Leading & Developing Millennials: 4 Tips

Millenials Gen YDeloitte’s 2014 Millenials Survey offers insight into the youngest working generation’s thinking that many of us might not have considered. These early-career professionals, and future leaders of our organizations, have strong opinions on the role of business and how they evaluate an organization for which they will or are currently working. One of the strongest opinions – three out of four said this – “believe their organizations could do more to develop future leaders.”

What are some things that your organization could be doing to say, “Yes, we are developing the next generation,” and mean it? Here are some ideas:

Give Challenging Assignments: The same survey said that over three-quarters want to work for innovative organizations. Having the chance to contribute creatively can make a difference. How can you stretch your young professionals with assignments that will energize and challenge them?

Formalize Mentoring: Match an experienced person with a new leader, and give them the time that they need to work together. Document the progress. Formalize the program with objectives and measured outcomes. Celebrate success.

Invest in Training and Development: This might sound self-serving coming from a training organization, but it makes a difference. Create a program to allow young professionals the opportunity to earn their way into advanced skills and leadership training. Publicize the program, the participants, and the results.

Mission & Values: Ask for Ideas: The survey also says that Millennials want to work for an organization that makes a difference. This doesn’t necessarily mean non-profits; it does mean that your organization can make a positive impact on society while earning healthy profits. Encourage their insights, creativity and values. Tie this into your other initiatives.

Most importantly, talk to your team. They will tell you what they are thinking if given the chance. If you need more help, contact us at Learning Dynamics for training and organization development solutions.


Learning Dynamics offers customized training solutions for organizations of every type and size. Managing a Multi-Generational Workforce is one of our programs that can help you engage your company’s next leaders.

Resolve to Train in 2014: Three Reasons

Put employee training and development at the top of your 2014 to-do list.

Put employee training and development at the top of your 2014 to-do list.

We might be a week or so early with our New Year’s resolution thoughts, but it’s not too soon to think about how to compete better in 2014. It seems that the economic horizon is brightening. Congress passed a budget, so the federal lights will stay on and the national parks open. Unemployment is declining and companies are more optimistic. Different challenges are likely for every organization in this environment.

Your Best Employees Will be Looking

Surveys say that 75% of the US workforce will be looking for a new position in 2014. Are some of your best and brightest among them? No matter what you think, the answer is likely, “Yes!” A robust and progressive training culture can fight that trend.

There Will be Turnover

If your organization has been fortunate to experience low employee turnover in the last few years, your onboarding training may be stale. Is it ready to go if you need to hire to replace exiting employees and to fuel growth?

Corporate Cash is Building Strength

A November/December survey in Training magazine indicates that 80% or organizations will be doing at least as much or more training in 2014 (it’s about evenly split at 40% same/more). Increased investments enabled by better corporate results will make your competitors stronger, not weaker.

Training and development have become necessities, not luxuries only for the companies that can afford the investment. Employees know that their time with your organization will not be measured in decades, but in years (single digits) or even months. They are looking to see what they get and what they will learn. If training and development are not on the menu, they will look somewhere else for their next opportunity.

The challenges are good ones. Managing growth and competing in a revitalized economy are exciting. Be ready with a team that is prepared. Resolve to invest in your people.

Learning Dynamics is a leader in customized training solutions for organizations of all sizes and missions. Talk to us to discuss how training and development can spur growth and success at your company in the New Year.

Notes from a Graduation

diplomaSometimes you just have to be there to fully appreciate the difference that training can make in someone’s life. In the case of the dozens of participants in an English language acquisition class – or ESL, if you prefer – it was a moment of pride and excitement.

One of our Connecticut industrial clients realized that their business unit could be more efficient if its very diverse employee population could communicate better. The client looked at options and hired Learning Dynamics to do the training in their facility. We provided expert instructors, customized the content to integrate job, company and industry-specific language, and held classes several times weekly.

Many made huge strides in their English proficiency.

The graduation was like a party, with certificates, music, and family members in attendance. A Well-deserved sense of accomplishment was in abundance. Here are two of the comments (paraphrased) from the graduates:

“I appreciate my company for providing this language training.”

“It’s great that the organization invested in us with this training. It is helping in my job and in my life outside work.”

Learning Dynamics is already deep into the next class schedules, with another large group learning English and preparing to be more effective. More classes are planned.

Yes, this was an intelligent business decision by our client. It offers plenty of ROI. But it is also a reminder of how an innovative organization can help their employees with relevant training. We can only guess as to how this will drive employee engagement and loyalty to new levels. We expect that everyone will be pleased.


Learning Dynamics offers customized ESL training created and delivered by experienced expert instructors. Read more about this employer’s ESL initiative here.

Engaging Your Multi-Generational Team

One of the most talked about topics in management circles is employee engagement. How can we get our people more engaged? We know that engaged employees are more productive, so how can we create an engaging environment? Why do some employees respond while others seem indifferent? How can we get buy-in from our oldest and youngest employees?

In an exhaustive review of the literature concerning engagement and generational differences, Nancy M. Schullery of Western Michigan University (Business Communication Quarterly, June 2013) describes the significant differences in how the Millennial, Gen X and Baby Boomer generations view the importance of intrinsic, extrinsic and other elements of the workplace. We won’t try to summarize a 15 page paper in a sentence, but one takeaway is that younger people place more value on the rewards of the work than their older peers. There are many other differences.

Knowing that supervisors and managers will have to lead and engage people from across multiple generations, what are senior executives to do? How can they fulfill their responsibility to provide the resources to their junior leaders so that they can get needed results in an ultra-competitive economy?

First, understanding that there are differences in what motivates employees from different generations is a start. The 60-something Boomer might enjoy the work for its own sake; the 23 year old Millennial is probably more interested in the paycheck that enables non-work activities.

Second, everyone in a management role should know how to balance the needs of the organization with the varied needs and wants of the employees. No matter what, the work stills needs to be done.

Finally, leaders need to be ready to deal with the inter-generational conflicts that will inevitably happen. Emily, the pierced and tattooed administrative assistant just might have a difference of opinion with James, her ex-military 40-something Gen X boss. Handling these situations quickly, professionally and effectively is critical.

If your organization is not realizing and appreciating the varied viewpoints of its people, chances are you are missing out on an opportunity to maximize engagement and effectiveness. Training your leaders to expect and manage differences can make a big difference. Harnessing the talent of your entire team is worth the effort.

Learning Dynamics can help you develop the skills to develop and manage a multi-gen workforce. Facilitator-led and e-module training solutions are available.

People: Costs, Competitive Advantages or Both?

So which is it? Are your people – or their paychecks, to be accurate – costs to be minimized, competitive assets to be developed and grown, or something in between? Henry Blodget wrote on this subject in a compelling opinion piece on LinkedIn this week. To paraphrase, his view is that looking at people as costs rather than assets is shortsighted and actually hurts in the long-term. The truth is somewhere in between.

Training and development investments need to be made intelligently and must be combined with an effective and consistent performance management process. Here are steps that we recommend you consider when thinking about training investments. Who gets additional training and who doesn’t?

First: All employees get the introductory training that they need to do the jobs for which they have been hired.

Second: Supervisors give them the coaching and feedback that they need to be motivated and make corrections as needed. They also identify employees who can do more.

Third: Strong, high potential employees are identified for advanced training. They are worth the investment. Poor performers are given the chance to improve, but be careful about investing heavily in those who might not give you the return on your training investment.

By creating a process and culture in which people know that advanced training is something to be earned, organizations can create a healthy performance-based environment. An added but less obvious benefit is that your poor performers might get the message when passed over for training opportunities and remove themselves, opening a spot for more suitable and engaged talent.

Your people are much more than costs to be minimized. The right ones can and will grow your business and help you exceed your goals if you invest in them. The key to success is using your resources (i.e., your training budget) wisely so that your team becomes a competitive advantage that justifies your training investment.

Learning Dynamics advises and helps clients develop and train leaders on executing performance management strategies and offers a comprehensive portfolio of employee training programs.    

Training ROI: Include it in Your Plan

When was the last time your company spent money when the question of ROI was not raised? In the 90s? Never? Every manager worth her paycheck needs to consider the benefit of every investment and expense. Training is no exception. Here are some ways to think about the benefits of training and how you will measure it that will satisfy everyone.

Include your ROI calculations from the start. Why are you going to deliver this training? What do you need to change that includes training as part of the solution? Think about what you want to change, how training can assist, and how you will measure it. Getting approvals for this and future training initiatives will require this crucial step.

Where is the organization now (especially compared to your strongest competitor)? Some baseline measurements can be crucial in determining the need for training and the effectiveness of the path that your organization takes. How is your organization performing relative to competitors or other units within your company? Identify a handful of metrics that you want to improve with training as the solution.

What employee behaviors will change with training? Your training focus and goals will always include some behavioral changes in the trainees. How can you measure whether or not that has happened? Think about customer surveys, secret shoppers, risk reporting or new tools that you can create to measure the training’s effectiveness.

Monetize the measurements. Not every metric will easily convert to dollars, but most will. If you make the effort to do it, you can answer the ROI question easily for this and future initiatives. Here are some data points to consider: Customer acquisition costs, sales closing percentages, cost per incident (e.g., safety, HR, complaints). Show the financial improvement that comes from your training initiatives and follow-up.

What are your dashboard items and how can behavioral changes driven by effective training improve results? If you can answer that question, you can not only justify training, but you can articulate the costs of not training. How are you helping your competitors by not investing in staff development?

Learning Dynamics has over 30 years of experience helping its clients maximize their training ROI with its consultative results-based approach. Contact us today to discuss how we can help your organization meet its goals with the help of customized training solutions.

You Can Trust Me. Really.

Can you remember the first television commercial that you saw? How about the first ad that you heard on the radio? Of course you can’t. All of us have been marketed to for our entire lives. Younger people have faced the onslaught of marketing messages from their first moments in the maternity suite when free samples of formula, diapers and lotions are presented to new moms. We have all grown wary of marketing messages and our trust needs to be earned.

How are your organization’s employees doing earning your customers’ trust? If your organization depends on relationship-building and confidence in your team (and what organization doesn’t?), this is a valid, and maybe even urgent question.

Studies have shown that a few simple factors play important parts in how customers view you, your people and your entire organization. How does your team perform in these areas?

  • Professional Appearance
  • Face-to-Face Communication
  • Written Communication
  • Professional Relationships at Work
  • Knowledge of Products and Services

At Learning Dynamics, we call all of this Total Professional Image Quotient. TPIQ is a way to assess and coach your people to provide better service and deliver better results. The organizations that commit to TPIQ see a real difference in their financial and customer-service performances.

Strong business results are built on a foundation of trust between your customers and your employees. TPIQ training workshops accelerate the move from potential to actual customer by creating an environment where customers trust your team because they have earned it.

Learning Dynamics is an award-winning national training company with over 30 years of experience delivering innovative and engaging training at all levels of client organizations. Find out how we can help you by contacting us today. [subscribe2]

Cloudy Ethics: Do You Have a Snowden?

Ethics and integrity are constant concerns of our Learning Dynamics clients. We hear about it in consultations, at our preview showcases and during our training sessions. Recent headlines give organizations cause for concern. More and more, employers are choosing to be more purposeful in their ethics and integrity training. Here are three reasons why.

One poor ethical decision can cost much more than money. Edward Snowden made a decision to leak government secrets. Part of his decision was based on an ethical system that was different than that of his employer and, as the government has made clear, the law. The public relations damage to his employer is monumental.

Ethics and integrity cannot be assumed. You can avoid a lot of trouble by taking the proactive step of explaining organizational standards and expectations. Once the damage is done, it is too late. An investment in training that eliminates confusion and answers questions before they are asked can make all the difference.

Keep good people out of trouble. Ethical missteps are often non-negotiable and career-ending issues. You will not have a choice but to end the employment relationship. An otherwise high-quality and high-potential employee could be working for your competitor because of an avoidable poor decision. Training and development in this area are as important as any other.

Most ethical lapses don’t lead the evening news for days at a time, but they can hurt. Take action to keep your company out of the news for the wrong reasons.


Learning Dynamics’s award-winning Integrity at Work ® training program features interactive exercises and instruction to help your employees make the right decisions. Our “Guidelines for Ethical Decision Making” job aid will focus decision-makers on the important considerations to protect themselves and your brand. Visit Learning Dynamics for more information about this and all of our training programs and additional services.