The transfer of knowledge and skills from the training room to the workplace is the Achilles’ heel of development programs.

The expectation that one training session will directly translate into improved business metrics is akin to assuming that a successful wedding ceremony guarantees a successful marriage. This metaphor by Professor Brinkerhoff aptly illustrates the challenges associated with transfer.

Implementing knowledge and skills in the workplace is a very difficult stage because trainers often lose sight of participants after the training ends. They return to their work and encounter obstacles. Despite previous enthusiasm, it often happens that the transfer of acquired knowledge or skills is minimal or non-existent. Why?

In 2016, Beer, Finstrom, and Schrader summarized the barriers encountered by employees, especially after leadership training:

✅ Lack of or negative feedback from coworkers or supervisors

✅ Lack of consistency in positive or negative consequences when skills or knowledge are not implemented

✅ Lack of tools or necessary information

✅ Lack of opportunities to apply knowledge or skills

✅ Insufficient practice during training or programs inadequately suited to the participant’s situation

What can be done to facilitate transfer? Here are a few examples:

✅ Preparation of action plans by participants and follow-up

✅ Follow-up after training sessions

✅ Planning training programs alongside implementation planning

✅ Organizing training for participants and supervisors before and after the training

✅ Informing about tools used in assessing training effectiveness

✅ Informing participants about the results of training effectiveness evaluations

✅ Conducting various competitions related to skill implementation

✅ Providing tools for supervisors to support transfer – e.g., lists of observable employee behaviors

The list of ideas can be longer, but the most important thing to remember is that training is the first step in development, but not yet development.

dr Małgorzata Mitoraj-Jaroszek