Friday, October 21, 2016

Why your training doesn’t work

Are you getting the ROI you expect?

According to the Association for Talent Development’s 2014 State of the Industry Report, organizations spend an average of $1,208 per employee on training and development. For companies with fewer than 500 workers, that number is even higher, coming in at $1,888 per employee.
It is estimated that U.S. companies spent $160.0B on training in 2015. While smaller companies spent more per employee, they logged fewer hours of training, 27 vs. 36 for large companies.

That’s 27 hours per year. It is commonly held that people forget about 42% of what they learn after 20 minutes, after a month, it grows to more than 80%.

This information gives us a look into explaining why much training within the workplace is not as effective as companies expect it to be.

One and Done
Training is often presented as a one-time event. It’s expected that dumping a huge amount of facts and information on participants will have the desired effect of "teaching" them what you want them to know or do. Participants often don’t have the opportunity to put the training into practice, and/or supervisors don’t reinforce the training after it’s delivered. Training content needs to be refreshed and reinforced over time. With no practical follow-up or meaningful assessments, you reach that nearly 90% loss of skills/knowledge of the training topic. How are you going to allow employees to practice? How are you going to provide feedback and assess training success?

Relevancy Mismatch
High level theory and information about the importance of strategic thinking, good management principles or the necessity for a harassment-free workplace are great. But trainers often neglect to provide concrete steps participants can take to employ those theories. Employees need to know exactly what to do so they can put training into practice and do their jobs effectively. Training should also teach employees how and where to access facts and information presented for future reference. It ought to help participants get access to websites, manuals, checklists, etc. where such information is put into practical terms. People cannot memorize everything in a one-time session.

Needs Mismatch
Often organizations don't take the time to analyze what their training needs are. Figure out who needs training on what topics and what style of training will work for the intended audience.

Climate Alignment
Organizations need to set the right climate for learning. Employees are pretty good at figuring out what’s really important by the actions of management. If the organization isn't sending the right signals, people won’t use it. "Walk the Talk" is a relevant concept here. If your employees don’t see company management employing the principles presented in the training, they probably won’t internalize it, either. Having one training session on a topic and then dropping it is a good signal that management doesn’t really place a great deal of importance on the subject.

Lack of Measurement
Assessment should be done on a continuous basis, both formally and informally. Supervisory and management staff needs to continuously assess if their employees have learned and are utilizing the training. Measure results to determine if training was effective and when and what type of training follow-up is appropriate.

Whether it’s hard or soft skills training, staff development is essential – and employees desire continuous learning. Doing it the right way will help ensure the dollars you spend give you the return you expect.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Obamacare: Individual Market in “Shambles”

The news on the financial troubles plaguing the ACA, along with the real-world effects on those people in the individual market continue. Of course, the Republicans are blaming the Democrats, and the Democrats are blaming the Republicans. In reality though, who brought this law into being? Politics aside, the facts are disturbing.

Health insurers are pulling out of exchanges, the co-ops that were allowed under the original law continue to tank (only of the 23 remaining). Just recently Evergreen Health Care, a co-op in Maryland has made moves to go private – something that originally was not allowed under the law, but was reconsidered in May after several other co-ops failed. And insurance premiums, as well as deductibles and co-pays are still rising at an alarming rate.

Recent articles detail how the Tennessee and Minnesota state exchanges are in serious trouble. Tennessee’s state insurance commissioner approved premium increases of up to 62% in an effort to save the exchange, saying "I would characterize the exchange market in Tennessee as very near collapse." Minnesota is in similar straits, allowing the health insurers in its marketplace raise rates by at least 50 percent next year, after the individual market in the state came to the brink of collapse, according to the the state’s commerce commissioner. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota announced it would stop selling health plans to individuals and families in 2017. The company said it was "projecting a total loss of more than $500 million in the individual [health plan] segment over three years."

 While the employer based health insurance market is still quite stable, the individual insurance market "does not feel stable at all," Janet S. Trautwein, chief executive of the National Association of Health Underwriters, told The New York Times. "In many states, the individual market is in shambles."

Fox news shared this graphic highlighting the premium increases in several states:

The reasons for all this financial strife are varied – and familiar – as they were telegraphed early on by opponents to the law. You can find more information from these sources:

Democrats Grow More Vocal About Obamacare’s Shortcomings

GOP seeks to block ObamaCare settlements with insurers – citing the issues with the "risk corridors" as one reason insurers are leaving the market.

And then there’s this news from HR Policy on a House hearing critical of the exchanges performance. The hearing cited more evidence from the Government Accountability Office about vulnerability of the exchanges to fraud. Every fictitious application using fake documents the GAO submitted was approved. This is also not new, and has been reported repeatedly in the past.
While both sides are touting "fixes" ranging from a public option (universal health care) to allowing insurers to sell across state lines to increase competition, to complete repeal, nothing seems to address the whole issue. Recalling the now-famous quote from Nancy Pelosi that "we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it" shows us that not knowing has caused what may have been good intent to become a complete disaster.