With organisations facing ever-increasing pressure to analyse the cost-benefit in every area of their business, the cost of management system implementation is often overlooked, or at best combined with the cost of the system development. However even the most well-developed management system will not be fully effective unless it is presented to the people who are responsible for implementing it in a way that will facilitate success.
More often than not, when a management system is developed, or redeveloped, it is simply ‘handed over’ to end users or included as some form of induction training, with little thought given to the process of learning transfer. The key objective of a management system should be to guide activities and behaviours. If this is the case, consideration needs to be given to how workers are introduced to the management system and more importantly what will make them engage with, and implement, the requirements of the system. It is about ensuring that effective learning takes place.
To consider this from a ‘training’ perspective, if we are to view learning as a strategic asset that enables organisations to develop their people to be their competitive advantage, the fundamental consideration then needs to be about sustaining the impact of their learning subsequent to the learning intervention, so as to ultimately transform behaviours: enhancing personal, and thereby organisational, effectiveness. This is the essence of learning transfer.
With management systems, the measurement of learning transfer is often some form of training assessment and a follow up systems audit. Whilst these are key measures, taking a step back and looking at the actual transfer of learning may promote and enhance the process, thereby ensuring the management system is effectively implemented.
In order to ensure effective transfer of learning in this instance, one needs to consider the following:
- Cognitive ability – The ability of the worker to comprehend, learn from experiences, reason and remember.
- Motivation – The worker’s internal drive towards and perseverance in achieving their goals.
- Self-efficacy – The worker’s perception of their own ability to perform a given task.
- Perceived utility of training – The worker’s perception of the value the intended training will have in their work life.
Linked with the above are the literacy levels of workers and the level of language used both in the management system documentation and training media used.
When developing the training for implementation of a management system, it is critical that consideration is given to the following:
- Transfer climate – A positive transfer climate is critical for a worker to apply and maintain their learning. This includes a supportive environment that recognises individual learning needs and is not simply punitive of failure.
- Support – This refers to both supervisor and peer support and will impact the transfer climate of an organisation. The support provided to a worker, from both their supervisors and peers, is the most important variable of the work environment impacting learning transfer.
- Opportunity to perform – Workplace opportunities that allow for newly acquired skills to be applied. Presenting opportunities and the applicable resources to practice skills learned is rated by workers as highly supportive, thereby promoting transfer.
- And most importantly the Follow-up – What happens post-training. Following the formal training experience with additional learning opportunities promotes positive transfer.
Please contact QRMC for more information.