American dreams?


first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. American dreams?On 1 Jan 2003 in Personnel Today US training trends are usually expected to migrate to the UK.  DeeDee Doke asks training experts on bothsides of the pond to assess their likely impact this yearAt the beginning of 2003, the economic and political challenges facing USbusiness are becoming training issues in corporate classrooms, as business andtraining themselves adapt to the uncertainties of a volatile world. From security awareness to human performance analysis, US business islooking to training to help it adapt to manifestations of the new world ordersuch as terrorism, corporate ethics and values lapses, productivity stagnationand globalisation. Or, prevent such challenges from taking big bites out of thebottom line. “It is a time of dramatic change,” says Pat Galagan, managingdirector of content at the American Society of Training and Development, inAlexandria, Virginia. “It is also a time of great promise. New doors areopening.” One example is e-learning, which in the US as elsewhere, infused thetraining industry with a new breed of IT-literate trainers with differentskillsets than most veteran trainers. Trainers are also being required to have greater business acumen than everbefore to guide their audiences through the ever-increasing complexitiesinvolving a company’s strategy. This equates to more training for the trainers,along with companies’ chief learning officers, on a variety of fronts.”Companies are becoming more global, everything is being done faster. Newskills are not just business skills, but emotional skills, teamwork, and globalawareness,” Galagan says. Performance gaps One area of increasing training focus in the US is human performanceanalysis – a 30-year-old movement that Galagan says is now gathering speed. A performance consultant will examine all aspects of a workplace situationto determine where a performance gap is occurring, what the cause is and how tofix it. “What’s new is analysing the situation instead of defaulting to atraining course. It is very results-orientated,” Galagan says. UK training consultant Andrew Forrest wishes such a system was taking holdhere. “I think it ought to be a trend,” he says. “A lot of moneyis thrown at organisational training, and I think evaluation is an absolutelykey point. I’d like to see organisations taking evaluation moreseriously.” Even ‘world-class’ organisations are far behind the power curve inappropriately assessing the type of training they actually need because theydon’t necessarily understand what knowledge gaps exist, he says. Forrest believes that knowledge management expertise within the UK generallyremains at “a very, very basic stage”. He says: “There’s a longway to go to identify good processes in one part of the organisation and for itto make its way to the other parts.” Greater rewards and recognition must be put in place to underscore trainingin this field, Forrest says. In terms of business training content, look no further than the newsheadlines of the past 12 to 18 months to get an idea of two of today’s keytraining content trends in the US. Let an issue become a cause celebre in the US, and a training course on howto – or how not to – choose the same path is sure to follow. Consider the 1974Watergate scandal, for instance. It first forced then-President Nixon toresign, and then changed the course of US journalism training to develop andinstil new investigative skills in the nation’s reporters and editors. This tradition of seeking solutions to crises and preventing mistakes thatled to earlier crises is now being played out in US businesses’ trainingcentres as the events of 11 September and the Enron and WorldCom scandals forcebusiness to reconsider security practices and procedures, and ethical codes andvalues. “Since 9/11, there’s been a lot of interest in security training,”says Galagan. “The creation of the Homeland Security department willfurther drive up interest.” Companies that feel vulnerable to terrorist attack,such as transport firms, airlines and energy providers, are among the mostlikely to seek out such training, although the post-9/11 anthrax attacks andthe Washington DC sniper incidents are prompting a broad variety of businessinterests to become more security knowledgeable as well. Similarly, fallout from a lack of concrete ethics frameworks within USbusiness – unlike the UK’s corporate governance model – has fuelled interest inethics and values training, particularly within leadership developmentprogrammes and MBA offerings. And to tie up all of those pressing business issues into onestrategy-conscious package, a training method of helping companies visualisetheir past, present and future is picking up steam among US-based companiessuch as Charles Schwab, IBM and National Semiconductor. San Francisco’s Changeworks Global guides senior teams to, literally, see‘the big picture’. A strategic illustrator works with participants to develop avisual representation of what a company wants to accomplish. “We helporganisations set out their change road map,” says trainer Cynthia Scott.”We show the big picture in a way they can understand.” Contactswww.astd.comwww.changeworksglobal.comwww.theworkfoundation.comlast_img