This post, Part 2, covers the last four principles; the previous post addressed the
other five principles.
Training must complement the organization’s
structures of job positions so that people and other resources are employed
effectively to achieve business goals and complement management styles. When
gathering content, you may have to consider coordination issues with other job
positions and the impact the work can have on other jobs. When developing work
procedures, be careful not to change the worker’s roles and responsibilities
without your customer’s (internal or external customer) approval.
of performance for a specific task may vary between different shifts at one
location or between different locations. Different supervisors may have
different expectations. One supervisor may expect staff to fix a problem when
it develops; another supervisor may want to be consulted first. One supervisor
may want to be informed about most events on site; another supervisor may only
want to be informed of events that must involve him/her. For training, the
standards of performance must apply equally to all shifts and locations. If you
find that there are varying expectations in how and how well the work is
performed, you may have to ask the customer to resolve the discrepancies.
Training must reflect the way the organization does
Every company has its
own way of doing business. If your mandate is to develop training that reflects
the way the customer does business, you must pay special attention to these two
1. When reviewing information in documents other than those from
the customer, do not assume the documents reflect the way
your customer does business. If you use the information
in the training you develop, you could inadvertently change the
way your customer does business. Customers do not want to be
told how to do their business.
2. Your personal beliefs and values may be different from your
customer’s. Be aware of your own biases so as not to impose
them on your customer. You may not agree with the way the
customer does business but it is most likely not your mandate
or responsibility to make changes.
Training must be corporate, job, and employee
The resources you develop must have value
by contributing to business success—the resources must contribute to improving
corporate, job, and employee performance. You must apply criteria for relevant
content to each stage of the training program design and development. From
conception through to implementation, you must ensure the content is relevant,
useful, and practical so that it adds value for the customer. Most training has
a task application and/or contributes to decision making. The corporate
objectives provide additional criteria to ensure the training is relevant. Corporate objectives are explained in a previous
post—Constituents of an Organization.
Training must be what the customer wants and is
willing to pay for
Because you are a
specialist, your customer expects you to make suggestions and provide leadership
to identify relevant content. You provide the leadership by asking quality
questions relating to corporate, job, and employee performance. From the
planning stage through to delivering products, you should regularly confirm
with your customer that the content and products are what the customer wants
and is willing to pay for.
There may be
occasions, however, when you clearly identify content that will contribute to
business performance that the customer may not be willing to pay for. You have
a responsibility to discuss the benefits of the content with your customer keeping
in mind that your customer has the final say. For example, when developing
training resources about equipment, you recommend describing how the equipment
works and how to work the equipment. There are important relationships between
these two concepts that must be addressed so that workers can perform
effectively and make decisions in the best interest of the organization.
However, your customer may want the resources to address either how the
equipment works or how to work the equipment, but not both. Traditions and
budgets may be overriding factors that prevent the customer from following your
advice. To have satisfied customers, you need to meet the customer’s
to the customer can also contribute to positive customer relations—you are
demonstrating your concern for their wellbeing.
book, Interviewing to Gather Relevant
Content for Training, explains these principles in more detail. This book
also addresses many other thinking strategies training consultants and technical
writer can use to identify relevant content. An overview of some of these
thinking strategies are addressed in previous posts about The Exemplary Worker.
the above relevant content principles apply to training in your organization?
What challenges do you have in identifying training content that is relevant,
useful, and practical?
Shand is President of HDC Human Development Consultants Ltd. He has 35 years of
experience designing and developing educational and training programs that have
excellent practical value and contribute to the customer’s business success. www.hdc.ca