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The mid-training interview

March 2, 2009

The pre-training interview sets the scene for the training and is built around the student training agreement, but if it is a contractual arrangement between the student and the organisation, how do we then make changes to the training without breaking our commitment? There is no doubt that circumstances will change, unforeseen events will occur and opportunities will arise. Not only that, individual situations may warrant relaxing some of the restrictions or guidelines. An inflexible approach to training will only result in an inability to respond to a fluid environment, losing efficiency and opportunities in the process.

Like the training plan, we adjust the STAg to accommodate these changes. The purpose of this process is to ensure that collaboration occurs through consultation. This is an information tool and not a directive nor instrument of enforcement. Your training documentation and standards will already outline the penalty and process for failing to perform to the workplace benchmarks.

These changes are made through a mid-training interview (MTI)

Why make changes

If we change the agreement on a whim or at every turn of events, it will become unwieldy and not taken seriously. How do you commit to a contract that will likely be different the next time you turn up for training? Typically there will be four main circumstances that drive a change to the STAg:

  • To adjust the planned training: Some of the training circumstances have changed and have either caused a delay or presented additional training opportunities. To align the agreement with the new training plane, we re-initate a more realistic contract with the student.
  • Review goals: The student is performing well ahead of schedule or has lagged behind and needs new medium or long term goals to compare with future performance. This could include a change in the assessment date or strategy.
  • Discuss performance management procedures: The student had demonstrated negligible performance or has failed an assessment and is now undertaking additional performance management measures. A new agreement spells out in uncertain terms the student’s requirements and ramifications should they not be met.
  • Amend trainers/assessors: Circumstances have dictated that student has either a change in the current the trainer(s) or an additional trainer(s) assigned. This could also include a change in the assessor or training manager. This new agreement outlines what roles each of the newcomers will take on as well as the new chain of command if this was altered in the process.

You may also want to allow a little flexibility in the agreement to avoid continual changes being made. Flexible is fine, but loosely worded guidelines can hinder the process by not delivering the direction that is intended by this process. Something like allowing minor verbal adjustments (say no more than 10%) to be made to training time without raising a new training agreement is probably acceptable (depending on local specifications), but listing every possible trainer in the organisation, just in case you need to use them, is not.

Changing the goal posts

If you need to make a change, schedule a quick meeting with those affected and in consultation, document the amendments using the PTI model. Of course there is no need to cover every detail of the new agreement, only those changes that predicated the MTI. Give the student (and trainer) another opportunity to ask questions, make suggestions or raise their concerns. Finally, give them a copy of the STAg and file the original document (signed) with the rest of their training documentation.

Remember the intent of the STAg. It is to elicit student collaboration by informing them of the expected training conditions and conduct. It is an agreement by them to commit to the training program and outlines what they can expect in return. Like any agreement, if it is reneged on, found impractical or of no value to the parties concerned, it isn’t worth the paper it is written on.

Download my free e-book “NOW YOU TELL ME” The seven things that I wish I’d known before I started training on the job.

New e-book coming soon “THE EFFECTIVE TRAINER’S TOOL KIT” 8 models for effective on the job training.

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