DEC 20, 2009

Auditing training

Training in foreign languages, especially English, is highly valued by Human Resources. However, habit is sometimes the enemy of business.

By Ms. Carolina Ruiz Montani
Dir. Effective English Advisers


Methodology. Tests may vary according to HR strategy.

Trainers in companies may lose sight of the business objective as they pay closer attention to the special features of each student. Although we are aware of the fact that company training pursues objectives closely connected with their employees’ performance, whether as a means to favor motivation or a tool to improve productivity, managing the class, controlling attendance, following the syllabus, and being in permanent contact with students keeps us far from the global view and focus of general results.

Therefore, a lot of companies have realized  the need for someone to evaluate training effects and to re-focus the approach towards certain objectives which, due to the corporate environmental nature, should combine corporate and individual objectives for each employee.

Both roles, trainer and auditor, can be successfully carried out by the same provider, but in different moments and for different organizations. Cooperation between both roles will lead to obtaining results of excellence and assure action openness and objectivity.

The role of the auditor
Trainers offer all their pedagogical and methodological expertise to the organization, as well as their academic excellence in foreign languages, and their ability to manage groups, classes, and activity schedules. On the other hand, auditors offer a global view of the training strategy, paying attention to personnel performance objectives, and revising and orienting the syllabus to assure their correct agreement with the business objectives.

The role of the auditor is to make sure that actions are taken in order to reach results, and also to evaluate in order to orient training towards the target behavior.

Based on performance evaluation, and the improvement action plan defined by each chief together with the subordinate, the most adequate training course for that profile is chosen, and a specific placement test is designed, whose result will give an accurate picture of the position needs and objectives of the area.

The assessment methodology may vary from company to company based on the strategy determined by the Training Department or HR. There are assessment tools with certification according to recognized international standards, which support decision-making. For example, Bullats for the UK, TOEIC for the USA, and ITEL Pro-testing for Australia and Japan.

In certain occasions, direct testing at the workplace is recommended in order to monitor how employees apply what was learnt to real situations. This on-site examination offers a differential value, as it shows the exact performance level and helps orient training towards the objective pursued.

Feedback of these evaluations consists of an individual report on skills according to the foreign language level reached, submitted to HR and Training Department. It can be discussed with the training provider, if HR requests so, in order to define together changes to the syllabus, and any modification to training frequency, level and methodology that might be required.

The work of the auditors goes beyond the examination; they work together with trainers on syllabus revision to assure its consistency with the needs to improve employees’ performance. In addition, auditors focus on detecting and promoting the achievement of new linguistic skills at the real workplace, and not only on reaching good pass marks in exams.