Adequately designed and professionally delivered formal training programs are an essential channel for building knowledge in most changes. Since the highest form of retention results from the hands-on application of learning to an immediate problem, training programs should include hands-on activities and demonstrations with less focus on theory, reading, or lectures.

Video programs, webinars, and other multimedia programs are great ways to convey concepts in developing knowledge. However, retention around tools and processes will be highest when these tools are discussed and applied during the learning program.

Effective training programs consider the precise knowledge required for a group or individual to operate successfully in the future state. Completing an assessment of knowledge gaps between the current state and the desired future state provides direct input into how to tailor a configure the most impactful training content. A gap analysis reveals which knowledge, skills, and behaviors are missing and need to be built. A useful technique for assessing the knowledge gap is to work with HR to write new job descriptions for employees, detailing the knowledge and skills needed to perform the role, both during the transition and in the future state.

It is also essential to understand the knowledge required during the transition process. Changes do not happen immediately. Often, old methods and systems may need to be used concurrently with the new processes and systems. Interim processes and beta versions of tools may have different steps in the final in the state. Therefore, training programs should address both how to operate in the future state and how to transition to a new way of doing work.

One last consideration is the timing of training and knowledge building activities. Retention of learning declines rapidly over time, especially if it is not used or applied right away. On the other hand, employees impacted by change also need time to develop some ability measure before the go live of the change. Trading needs to be timed carefully:

    • Training too far away from the go-live may mean knowledge goes unused and is lost
    • Training too close to the change may not give sufficient time to practice and develop basic proficiency before employees are expected to demonstrate new skills in their daily work

Ideally, training will occur as close to go-live as possible to still allow for practice and proficiency building before implementation.

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