Organizations in the United States alone spend billions on
training each year. These training and development activities
allow organizations to adapt, compete, excel, innovate, produce,
be safe, improve service, and reach goals. Training
has successfully been used to reduce errors in such high-risk
settings as emergency rooms, aviation, and the military. However,
training is also important in more conventional organizations.
These organizations understand that training helps
them to remain competitive by continually educating their
workforce. They understand that investing in their employees
yields greater results. However, training is not as intuitive as it
may seem. There is a science of training that shows that there
is a right way and a wrong way to design, deliver, and implement
a training program.
The research on training clearly shows two things: (a)
training works, and (b) the way training is designed, delivered,
and implemented matters. This article aims to explain
why training is important and how to use training appropriately.
Using the training literature as a guide, we explain what
training is, why it is important, and provide recommendations
for implementing a training program in an organization. In
particular, we argue that training is a systematic process, and
we explain what matters before, during, and after training.
Steps to take at each of these three time periods are listed and
described and are summarized in a checklist for ease of use.
We conclude with a discussion of implications for both
leaders and policymakers and an exploration of issues that
may come up when deciding to implement a training program.
Furthermore, we include key questions that executives and
policymakers should ask about the design, delivery, or implementation of a training program. Finally, we consider future
research that is important in this area, including some still
unanswered questions and room for development in this evolving
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