Z/Yen believes strongly in the ability of training, coaching and skills development to improve business performance. We believe that training is an investment in the future in order to reduce risk, enhance performance or reduce variability. Training is learning, and thus one of the most complex interactions among our clients, their staff, their customers, their suppliers, their stakeholders and us.
Our programmes tend to be an intense experience designed to equip people with the skills required of them, but making those skills fit our clients' cultures and core values. We follow a six stage process to provide a service customised to each client's requirements:
Establish the endeavour - having agreed the learning goals, determine the scope and objectives of training, in particular how we can measure success;
Assess and appraise - take stock of current skill levels, training support, coaching, mentoring and personnel development in the round;
Lookaheads and likelihoods - conduct a highly interactive design phase trying to see which set of approaches is most likely to achieve the desired result;
Options and outcomes - pilot our approach content and delivery as well as conduct research on the sequence of units, activities, inputs, outputs and review messages;
Understanding and undertaking - cross-verify and cross-train teams on materials and approaches before managing the training programme;
Securing and scoring - measure success via tests or surveys, learn from mistakes, devise ways of ensuring that training changes behaviours and cultures - that it "bites".
We frequently manage projects or programmes using off-the-shelf training packages which can provide satisfactory results. However, we believe that in order to deliver step-change improvements, "culture" has to change. Customised design is, therefore, crucial. We expect a design phase to include wide-ranging discussion on "swinging" elements which greatly affect quality, cost and timescales - such as the feasibility of single-session or multi-session training, use of automated training tools, integration with ongoing skills assessment and professional development, documentation/scripting, ratios of trainers/attendees, cascade training/train-the-trainer, ongoing training, skills metrics, random skills assessment/follow-up, use of games, accreditation/certification, supporting literature and academic structures, etc. Experience shows that confidence will increase only when people feel a very real sense of achievement; that they can apply what they have learned not just in the classroom but in the world where they work. Our varied training programmes include some interesting and novel assignments such as team-building on classic boats, but also:
increasing the business development effectiveness of a global security firm through sales, media, negotiating and account handling coursework and assessments;
developing online training material for risk awareness at a professional firm;
working with a major charity on helping 1,500 care workers assess what they do against charitable outcomes, supported by technology, in order to prove "evidence of worth";
creating a complete risk management and project risk management methodology and training framework for a government agency;
developing an internet financial game to help children learn about finance;
coaching executives and boards of small and medium-sized enterprises on improved effectiveness, as well as similar coaching for partners of accountancy and law firms;
creating a variety of game-based interactive days, helping academics and MBAs learn about commercialising technology, aiding law firm partners in understanding their business, training logistics managers in the mechanics of making money in the business, increasing the awareness of environmental activists in negotiating with industry.