Signs of the times

first_img Comments are closed. This year’s HRD Week offers an insight into training interventions suitableto match our turbulent business climate. Simon Kent reportsIs it possible that the backdrop to the CIPD’s HRD 2002 conference isunprecedented in terms of the changes and challenges faced by the trainingprofession? For the past few years we have become used to the idea ofcontinuous change, decreasing budgets and career uncertainty. Is this year anydifferent from the last? Judging by the speakers, subjects and solutions to bepresented at Olympia from 16-18 April, HRD 2002 not only starts from theunderstanding that the start of the new century is more turbulent than the endof the last for business, but also demonstrates that training solutions are nowbeing developed and implemented to match these most demanding conditions. “We have always lived in times of change,” says conference speakerRobert Holden, managing director of The Happiness Project( “But now that change is faster and moreunpredictable. Many people are waiting for the changes to stop so they can taketheir next breath, but the problem is they won’t get that opportunity.” “How to train Generation X staff is still a major challenge for organisations,”says Debbie Meech, director of talent management at “Youhave to manage them on the understanding that they may not be committed to theorganisation for lifelong careers. At the same time you still need a commercialreturn on developing them.” Meech will be talking about developingemployees at as a case study for Using Training to Promote YourBrand (session A11 on 16 April at 3.30pm). The need to align training with organisation direction is emphasised by ToddLapidus, author and president of customer contact corporation (C3Corp).”All training interventions need to be in alignment with the main aims ofthe organisation,” he says. “Getting that alignment right means thatrather than working against the current you’re in the current – and when thathappens you can literally feel it. Employees may not be able to articulate whyit feels different, why it is easier to learn and why they can assume newskills quickly, but they do feel it is.” At the heart of successful training interventions appears to be theacceptance that the delivery of development initiatives can take many forms andstructures. Holden says his company can now deliver a series of shortdevelopment interventions for clients – for example, three lunchtime ‘brainsnack’ sessions spread over three months, rather than a concentrated anddisruptive three-day event away from the office. Such innovation and forwardthinking in terms of training solutions is reflected among many of those onshow at the HRD exhibition. Action stations Experiential training specialist Impact Development is using HRD 2002 tolaunch a course in inspirational leadership. According to head of marketing SamCarey, the course recognises that leadership is all about action and so presentsdelegates with a series of challenging situations. “The common denominatorwith everything we do is that we’re committed to helping organisations be moreeffective and profitable, whether that means working as a team or developingindividual leadership skills,” she says. “Some of what we do isoutdoor based, but everything is experiential – doing something and receivinginstant feedback rather than just talking about it.” Impact’s 4th International Conference held in June this year, will also focuson how organisations can harness their leadership talents. With speakersincluding leadership specialist Manfred Kets Vries and Simon Woodroffe, thefounder of restaurant chain Yo! Sushi, the event reflects Impact’s increasingworldwide activities. E-learning and technology-based development is unprecedentedly high on theagenda at this year’s conference. Training and communication solution providersInformation Transfer will be showcasing Seminar4web, its new software tool thatcan be used to create learning and assessment courses via the web, e-mail,CD-Rom or floppy disk. The courses can be linked to a score recording systemenabling the learning process to be tracked and managed via e-mail systems. The company may not have a high profile, but it has long-term workingrelationships with major clients including GlaxoSmithKline, Nestlé and Reuters.On 16 April at 14.45, Information Transfer’s technical director, Guy Sweetenwill give a 30-minute talk on Five Practical Steps to e-Learning as part of theTopic Taster Showcase. The session promises to inspire trainers to return totheir organisations with a clear view as to how to approach the design andimplementation of an effective e-learning system. Video Arts is not a newcomer to the HRD showcase, but it consistentlyproduces relevant and high-quality training materials, such as The UltimateStress Show and this year the company brings The Ultimate Change Show to theexhibition. Starring US actor David Soul the programme won a Gold Medal in thecategory of Personal and Professional Development at this year’s New York FilmFestival. Video Arts has also recently released Absence Minded: ManagingAbsenteeism which offers managers a structured method for tackling absenteeism.Martin Addison of Video Arts says: “We are constantly ensuring that thecontent and style of our learning programmes reflect the changing needs of themarketplace.” Programmes supporting leadership development and diversityin the workforce will also be available at the exhibition. As if to ensure trainers are not swept away by this wave of new products andinnovation, every day there will be two chances to attend a two-and-a-half-hourworkshop on evaluating the true cost of training. The conference and exhibition is an opportunity for training managers anddirectors to be inspired and consider what investment they can make in thefuture for their organisation’s development, however, without the skills andapproach to demonstrate how training pays, the chance of getting such ideaspast the board will be compromised. Specialists, including Isobel Heaton of DTC International and ChrisSchiller, director of Archway Management Training and Development, will provideguidance and lead discussions on how to measure cost and benefit from traininginterventions – financial and non-financial, quantitative and qualitative. Withthe wealth of information available at the conference, exhibition and workshop,trainers should leave HRD 2002 fully equipped to help their organisations facethe future. Programme content The HRD 2002 Conference programme is split into three distinct areas: – Masterclasses – in which experts give their view on specific subjects – Training Essentials – practical methods of approaching challenges – Case Studies – an opportunity to gain insights through studying trainingpractice within a variety of organisations Speakers have been drawn from a variety of disciplines – from academics andconsultants to top-level front-line practitioners. And e-learning will no doubtfeature heavily in sessions on Investing in the Future of Training led byMartyn Sloman of the CIPD and Professor David Ashton, University of Leicester(16 April, 09.15), Integrated Self-Managed Learning (18 April, 09.15) with IanCunningham, chairman of strategic developments international, and ImplementingBlended Learning – a case study session with input from Shell’s senior learningand development adviser Regy Loknes and Finola Harrington from Ernst &Young. There are three sessions dedicated to e-learning, including How E-LearnersLearn which, among other things, explores whether e-learning encouragesknowledge sharing among employees. This session will be led by Jake Reynolds,assistant director of the University of Cambridge Programme for Industry andAlison Winch, director of learning and development at Interbrew UK Ltd. On 16 April Todd Lapidus will be leading a morning session on DesigningTraining for Success under the Training Essentials banner as well as amasterclass on High-Impact Training the same afternoon. Lapidus’ aim may seemto be impossibly high – aligning training with the strategic direction of anorganisation would first require training to have a high profile within anorganisation – but he believes it can be achieved through asking a simplequestion before any training intervention is made: “The technique we havelearned at C3Corp is to first ask the question ‘who is the customer of thistraining programme?’ and then to design the training intervention from that basis.”Lapidus argues that identifying the customer is crucial to being able tomeasure success in training. It also enables the training function to move awayfrom being viewed as a separate entity called upon by the company simply toplug gaps in perceived skill shortages. Instead, training is focused onrequired outcomes, guaranteeing that new skills developed among employees areboth relevant and beneficial to the organisation. The conference is certainly be the main forum for receiving information fromtraining experts, but HRD 2002 includes other opportunities for delegates tolearn from the experience and opinions of training and development specialists.While the exhibition provides the chance to meet more than 350 companies, thisyear also sees the introduction of the Topic Taster Showcase, the Learning Areaand the Training Cinema. In the first of these forums, training suppliers willpresent the latest in training and development content, the Learning Areaoffers first-hand experience of delivery methods while the cinema is theperfect venue to view training software and videos. Gareth Jones, head of innovation and learning at BBC Training andDevelopment will be appearing at the Training Cinema at 10.15 on 17 April,talking about employee development no longer being about educating theindividual but about empowering them to learn for themselves. He believes thereis a convergence between formal training and informal knowledge sharing andthat technology acts as the catalyst. As a leader in the provision of multimedia and web-based services, the BBCis able to offer a wide variety of courses, provided via a range of differenttechnological media or directed at developing technology skills. However, that technology alone is not the solution to creating acost-effective training initiative: “Organisations are moving away fromconsidering technology alone as a solution, realising that culture should betheir main consideration,” says Sue Harley, managing director of IQdos,who will be speaking at the Training Essentials session Attracting andSupporting E-Learners (17 April, 15.30). Harley will be joined for the session by David Roe, head of training anddevelopment at Janssen-Cilag. Harley notes that this company has ensuredcompany culture supports its new learning method – even employing an externalmarketing consultant to promote the initiative internally. “E-learning is not about technology,” says Harley, “It is awake up call for all organisations to consider how they manage adult corporatelearning and how best to use the tools available for that purpose.” Make a reservationBook at: 020 8263 3434How to get there:HRD 2002 is held at Olympia Conference Centre, London From 16-18 April. Tube:Earls Court District Line. Visit Olympia’s website at for travel details. Car parking needsto be pre-booked on 0800 056 8444. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Signs of the timesOn 1 Apr 2002 in Personnel Todaylast_img

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