As with many companies, training became the panacea to gaps or issues that training was not designed to address. When skill and knowledge imparted through the training process did not adequately impact the gap or problem, poor training became the culprit. This resulted in training revisions, refreshers or retraining—a cycle that still does not address the issues impacting performance.
The issue of impact and effectiveness was complicated further by timing. Typically urgent deadlines and finite resources left KED without the preferred option to engage in critical front-end analysis. As a result, KED and the clients risked developing solutions that might achieve limited success and spend valuable resources.
To end this cycle and truly meet the needs of its internal clients, KED is redefining its role from that of the training provider to the performance consultant.
The transformation began with a skill inventory self-assessment that enabled the KED team to pinpoint its own development needs and gaps. The inventory results enabled the team members to focus on the skills, knowledge, tools and processes they needed to make the shift from being training providers to performance consultants.
Accomplishing this shift required more than just a change in terminology. It called for KED professionals to develop new behaviors and skills. The KED team initiated an ongoing professional development series to make sure that it can deliver the value and results clients need to meet their business goals and objectives. The initiative combines skill/competency analysis, professional development resources and structured coaching, as well as support for the consultants to grow and succeed in their expanded roles. Most importantly, it involves ongoing measurement and reporting of the impact of this new approach on the relationship between KED and its internal client groups.
“We are in the process of conducting a training-effectiveness review to measure where we are currently successful in meeting our clients’ needs and where we are not,” said Maryellen Cudney, training effectiveness review project manager. Cudney heads the review project for the KED team, led by Judy Collister, director of employee development.
“When the review is complete, we will have gathered data from our clients, stakeholders and employee development team members via individual interviews, focus groups and surveys,” said Cudney. The analysis and recommendations that result will enable the alignment of KED and its clients to impact performance and achieve KeyBank’s strategic business goals.
KeyBank’s effort highlights a trend in the learning industry. Organizations today are increasingly turning to performance consultants who may not be specialists in that business’s product or service, but who do know how to efficiently uncover what business drivers are at stake, what levers managers can use to impact those drivers, what role various kinds of interventions can play in moving those levers and how to evaluate the return on investment of every performance-improvement initiative. This complex and important role is growing because of its direct impact on bottom-line effectiveness and employee satisfaction and productivity.