Training on its own does not work. Multiple research projects by organisations like ASTD, HR Chally, Xerox and Imparta have demonstrated that up to 87% of new skills are lost within a month.
Imparta's Capability Building® System (CBS) is a comprehensive, modular toolkit for solving this problem. Properly used, our research shows the CBS reduces 'skills loss' to less than 20%, and ensures that business training achieves your financial, operational and cultural goals.
Very few initiatives will need all of the tools in the CBS, but you can select the components you need in the knowledge that they will work seamlessly together… whether you need a single workshop, a custom simulation, a cultural change programme, or a global Academy.
The CBS is designed to support our content in sales, marketing and customer service, but you can apply it to other areas too. You can engage Imparta to run the implementation, or we can train and accredit your own staff to use the components of the Capability Building® System.
Click on the elements of the diagram below to begin visualising what your own solution could look like. You'll be able to download a customised PowerPoint presentation to summarise and communicate your thoughts.
Click here to begin designing your solution.
This stage of the CBS helps you to define the business goals you are trying to achieve, and the operational and cultural levers you can use to achieve them. It is a positive process, helping you to 'tune in' to the organisation, connect with key stakeholders and test their vision with those who will be affected.
Scoping and Visioning
Imparta's robust scoping process helps to clarify and prioritise your business goals, then our visioning workshop builds consensus around the skills, behaviours and cultural changes required to achieve those goals. It offers a unique insight into the hard and soft aspects of change, and then tests a clear Statement of Intent with the front line.
What's the benefit? Tapping into the insights that exist in the organisation stops you investing in the wrong things, or in a programme that fails to deliver.
Imparta's evaluation process gives you a realistic view of how large the gap is between the vision of where you need the organisation to be, and where it is now. The approaches used include:
- Day in the life. Comparing the current working day to what will be required of people in the 'new world' brings the change to life and identifies likely resistance.
- Observation. Watching managers and staff in action (and where relevant, customer interactions across all channels) identifies the biggest gaps vs. the Statement of Intent.
- Focus groups. Small, intense discussions help to uncover and prioritise likely issues in achieving the vision.
What's the benefit? Organisations often underestimate the change required to achieve their vision. A 'warts and all' evaluation helps to ensure plans are grounded in reality and allows challenges to be addressed from the start.
Customer and colleague insight makes sure that plans to deliver on your vision are based on a full external and internal perspective.
We can work with your existing customer insight, or provide an independent researched view using our framework for getting dynamic real-time information from customers about the service or sales experience.
Colleague insight explores specific challenges the business faces and how these are being handled by staff and managers.
What's the benefit? Insight research can provide new understanding of the external and internal environment, allowing you to design a change journey that won't hit hidden obstacles.
Imparta's stakeholder analysis maps the main groups and individuals that will affect the success of your intervention, along with their current attitudes and the level of influence they have over the outcome.
This analysis is then used to develop strategies and tactics to help manage stakeholders towards a successful outcome.
What's the benefit? Ensures that the informal networks within your organisation support the change effort as well as the formal ones. Encourages creative approaches to overcome even difficult issues.
Identifying and analysing something as intangible as a 'culture' means trying to understand a complex bundle of interactions, processes, motivations and agendas.
Where it is an important factor, Imparta assesses culture through different 'lenses', from what drives the sense of purpose, to the norms of working life, and the way leaders behave. We use a variety of tools to drill down into these areas, including focus groups, online surveys, interactive media, on-site observations and roadshows. Outputs are expressed as heatmaps, blueprints, benchmarks, and quantitative reports, providing rich insight for informing cultural change.
What's the benefit? Culture plays a part in almost all transformation initiatives, but its importance as a factor will depend on what you are trying to achieve. In most cases, a high-level cultural assessment will pay for itself many times over. If there is a strong cultural element to the change, then a more in-depth assessment will be necessary, unless it has already been done internally.
Engage is where we test the reality of the current skills within the organisation, as well as perceptions of the content and journey to come. The tools in the Engage section prepare the ground for the changes ahead, 'turning people on' to achieving the business and operational goals that have been set.
Good communication takes people on a journey from awareness, through understanding, to commitment. It often begins with a teaser campaign to raise awareness and interest, then moves through the launch phase into the 'what and how' of implementation. It explains how the initiative will help them perform better in their role, what impact it will have on the business, and why it is needed now.
The most valuable communications come from your managers, but other useful tools include presentations, podcasts, videos, animations, emails, posters, simulations, blogs and other social media. Planning is helpful to make sure you cover all the bases in a cost-effective way. It also ensures good coordination between your internal team and any third parties.
What's the benefit? Avoid slow progress and resistance arising from a poor understanding of 'why, what and how'. Help to overcome inertia and sustain positive results by creating a buzz.
You can't improve Sales, Marketing or Service effectiveness in isolation. You also need to make sure that the wider organisation is aligned to the change.
The Alignment Meeting is typically facilitated by internal staff working in tandem with Imparta experts, to identify and begin to resolve alignment issues. It involves a range of key stakeholders, from business leaders to HR and Finance.
Imparta's experts can also provide consulting support to help you with more in-depth alignment issues.
What's the benefit? Avoid wasting investment because other systems and processes undermine the new capabilities. Create strategic value by building synergies with the rest of the organisation.
Imparta's extensive library of competency models provides clear insight into what makes someone excellent in a given role. Their objective, behaviour-based design gives a much more accurate read of competency than a simple numerical rating.
Competencies can be selected and, if necessary, tailored to suit each role being trained. If you have unique roles, Imparta has many years of experience in creating models that describe them using specific observable behaviours.
We will also help you define a target 'footprint' for each job description – the performance level that you want each person to achieve. (Not everyone needs to be an expert in everything!)
What's the benefit? Clarity around learning goals. An objective way of assessing skills and behaviours, so the bias introduced by individual manager perceptions is reduced. Improved mobility across the organisation. Less investment in the wrong skills.
Competency assessments compare observed behaviours to those in the competency model. 180 degree assessments are carried out by the individual and by their manager, using an online tool. Bias is reduced through careful competency design, manager training, and the examination of outlying data points.
Where the assessment is particularly critical, it can be conducted by Imparta's experts, whether in a formal assessment centre, or based on a sample of observed sessions.
A wide range of reports are available to help individuals, managers, and business/Academy leaders to identify capability gaps and track improvement over time.
What's the benefit? If you don't know the current capabilities of your organisation, you won't know where to focus your efforts, or be able to track progress. Assessment can also help to identify top talent, ensuring that key people are retained within the business.
Knowledge and skills are only part of what drives individual performance. Beliefs and motivations also play a key role, so we offer psychometric assessments from a number of specialist providers to give you in-depth insight into what drives the individuals in your team.
Unusually, we also help you turn that insight into concrete actions at a team and company level.
What's the benefit? Good psychometrics help to shape learning design. Managers and individual team members are equipped to get the most from any training initiative, and to coach in the most effective way. Assessments can also be used to improve your 'hit rate' with new hires, retain top talent and support reorganisations.
Champion Selection and Engagement
Champions are individuals selected from within your business to inspire, influence, coach and in some cases teach their colleagues. They act as change agents and role models, and form a vital channel for feedback to the central team.
Our rigorous process helps you choose people with the right capabilities and attitudes, engage with them and prepare them for the roll-out.
What's the benefit? Champions can actually save you money, especially if they play a role in training delivery. They have a huge impact on buy-in and the take-up of new skills, and they form a vital channel for feedback to be passed to the central team.
Too many change journeys roll out without first having been positioned effectively.
Whether you choose to run a formal launch event for everyone, or train the managers or champions who then cascade down the organisation, we can help you to communicate the need for change and the forms this may take early on in the journey.
We also offer orientation workshops to engage and prepare those staff in other areas that will support or be affected by the new approaches.
What's the benefit? A good launch event means people are aware what is expected of them and are introduced to the programme or process they are about to go through.
Allowing space for frank and open exchanges early on also means that people are ready and on-board when the learning begins.
In particular, launch sessions for managers mean that they know how to reinforce change in those critical days after their teams are trained.
Developing skills takes practise, not lectures. Learning by doing is at the heart of Imparta's philosophy. Face-to-face workshops account for around 10% of a learner's time, e and mLearning around 20%, and real-world learning around 70%.
Customisation and Co-Creation
Imparta has a world-class range of workshops that are designed to be customised to your business. Our innovative micro-tailoring™ process ensures that the exercises, role-plays, examples and stories used relate directly to your business, and we can combine modules from a range of different programmes to create the perfect intervention.
Where major design work is necessary, our world-class development process and instructional designers ensure an outstanding result, within your budget. Our collaborative approach to the design process also means that development is something that is 'done with' your people and not something 'done to' them.
What's the benefit? Co-creation helps build towards buy-in and acceptance of the change journey as well as meaning content is easily applicable in the operational context.
e and mLearning
Imparta's i-Coach® system is a fully-loaded e and mLearning portal that goes beyond an LMS to underpin the whole change process. It integrates learning, development planning, task support and social learning with measurement and accreditation. You can use i-Coach to host your own content, and/or draw on Imparta's library of award-winning content in sales, marketing, service and leadership.
i-Coach is often used to provide online pre-work before a workshop, to provide reinforcement after the workshop, and to allow individuals to plan their ongoing personal development. Alternatively, you can host our content on your existing LMS.
What's the benefit? eLearning is a good complement to other forms of learning, allowing knowledge to be acquired at the learner's own pace and allowing workshops to be focused on practice and application rather than lecturing. i-Coach also facilitates social learning, and the creation of a valuable knowledge-base within your organisation.
Imparta is a pioneer and world leader in advanced business simulations. Our multi-award winning simulations provide a rich and realistic learning experience, where participants can practise new skills in a safe but realistic non-linear environment. They can be integrated into a workshop or used standalone. Our new generation of simulations can run cross-platform (e.g. on iPads).
Existing Imparta simulations cover sales, retail sales, sales mastery, marketing, strategy, working across cultures, and commercial acumen.
We are also expert at creating custom simulations, from full, complex case studies to three minute 'mini-sims' to reinforce specific skills. This is powerful technology. Rather than eLearning that is little more than a PowerPoint presentation, mini-simulations let you create real skills, just in time.
What's the benefit? Simulations deliver people who can actually apply new skills, rather than just describe them. They allow complex skills to be taught in a way that would be impractical with normal role-plays.
People build skills through practise, not lectures. Our workshops are highly interactive experiences that combine simulations, exercises, role-plays, and application to real life business issues and challenges.
Our trainers are dedicated professionals with extensive practical experience that we match to your culture and business. We can also train your own trainers if you would prefer.
We offer a wide range of workshops and modules covering sales, marketing, customer service and leadership, all with a range of customisation options, including our unique micro-tailoring process.
What's the benefit? These workshops change behaviour through the right methodologies, taught in a highly interactive way, customised to your business and delivered by the right trainers in a consistent way across all territories.
Not every learning intervention needs to be a full workshop. Bite-sized learning can be used to develop a specific skill, often in response to market changes (e.g. a new entrant), business issues (e.g. falling win rates, brand recognition or NPS) or an identified skill gap.
Bite-sized learning can be delivered by managers as they see fit, or often embedded into a focused campaign that addresses both 'Skill' and 'Will', using powerful communications, eLearning with manager follow-up, and the collection of results to generate 'buzz' and encourage application.
What's the benefit? Move the dial quickly and efficiently on an issue of real importance to the business.
Imparta's research shows that the components of the 'Stick' section can improve learning take-up from 15-30% to over 80%. In fact, they are often used by clients who have already invested in training with other organisations, but have been disappointed with the results.
Reinforcement and Social Learning
Learning needs good follow-through. Most workshops benefit from a formal reconnect some weeks later to embed learning, deal with any issues arising, and encourage application. Reconnects can be online to save travel costs.
Digital post-work and reinforcement helps to keep people learning, drawing on a library of material and real-world tasks for ongoing personal development. Imparta's i-Coach™ platform also encourages social learning, with discussions organised around learning topics, tools and work-related tasks. Alternatively, we can integrate with existing social platforms such as Yammer.
Other reinforcement approaches include buzz sessions (short, interactive, real world sessions that focus on common skill gaps), and 'home schooling kits' (which equip managers to reinforce specific skills in longer sessions).
What's the benefit? Good reinforcement encourages application of the new skills, taking learning out of the classroom or computer screen and into the real world.
Research by Imparta and others shows that manager coaching has a dramatic impact on team performance. It's the best way to make training stick.
Our expert coaches can work directly with your teams, but more often we give your own managers the tools, skills and practise they need to coach and/or Manage by Walking Around (MBWA). Like any skill, coaching will disappear if it is not reinforced. So we can also 'coach the coaches' and run calibration sessions, observing your managers and providing personal feedback, guidance and coaching, while ensuring that they are all coaching in a consistent way.
What's the benefit? Lack of a coaching culture can seriously damage your results. Even outside a formal training programme, training and supporting managers to coach will improve team performance.
Imparta's application and coaching tools are designed to help participants use their new skills back in the workplace.
Depending on the subject area, we offer tools in a range of formats from paper-based templates, wallet cards, spreadsheets and PowerPoint templates, to fully-fledged online and mobile application tools.
In particular, our SAM (account management and planning) and CCV (opportunity management) tools integrate with a wide range of CRM systems, linking directly into the day-to-day activities of your salesforce.
We also provide synchronous and asynchronous task-based coaching and support around the use of these tools.
What's the benefit? Embed new skills into the 'way we do things around here'.
Account/Deal/Campaign Breakthrough Sessions
Marketing Breakthrough Sessions can be used to help nail down a customer insight, proposition or campaign. Our Sales, Account and Deal Pursuit Sessions provide practical, expert help to sales teams trying to expand an account or win a big deal.
Our experts can work online (e.g. using Webex or LiveMeeting), or face-to-face. The end result is solid progress towards a clearly-defined business outcome, and we're willing to work on a success fee basis.
What's the benefit? Improved share of wallet and hit rate. Significantly increased revenue and profit. For one client, a single two-day deal pursuit helped to win around £60m of new revenue. They also help skill uptake as they demonstrate the practical application and impact of the new skills.
Running a training course with no measurement pretty much guarantees that you won't achieve your goals. Imparta has a dedicated 'Client Impact' team that tracks, analyses and reports on the impact of training using the widely-accepted Kirkpatrick model, and advises you on any corrective actions needed.
Level 1 – Reactions
We measure participants' reactions to the training content, the learning design and the trainer, using on-the-spot evaluation forms. We also hold 'plus/delta' discussions to identify what's working well and any areas for improvement, and regularly update our programmes to reflect this information.
What's the benefit? Instant feedback on the quality of the programme and its relevance to your business gives you confidence and lets you make early improvements.
Level 2 – Learning
The first real test of training impact is whether people have learned the new concepts and understood them enough to apply them. We check this using a quiz based on case study 'vignettes' that are typically sent out two-four weeks after a programme. The reporting tools identify strengths and weaknesses, so that managers and individuals can plan further learning if needed.
What's the benefit? Level 2 measurements tell you who has understood the course material, so that managers can support those who are struggling. The test itself also encourages people to re-visit and embed the learning.
Level 3 – Behaviour Change
Level 3 assessments tell you whether the participants have actually changed their behaviour and are applying their new skills. These assessments are generally done using 180 degree online assessments, based on the same competency framework that was used in the initial assessment.
(See the sections on competency frameworks or competency assessments for more details).
What's the benefit? If you keep measuring against competencies, people will keep thinking about them. Plus you can track improvement across individuals, teams, and the whole organisation.
Level 4 – Business Impact
Measuring business impact lets you see whether your investment is working, and encourages the uptake of new skills by creating 'buzz' and sharing best practices across the team.
Our online tools help you to gather and validate case studies where the new skills have made a quantifiable difference. We can also track improvements in performance (sales, NPS, campaign performance, etc.), ideally with a control group to reduce the influence of external factors.
We can also help to identify which competencies have the strongest impact on business performance.
What's the benefit? If you don't know whether your investment has paid off, you don't know whether to keep doing it (or whether anything needs changing). Measuring impact is also great for creating buzz and encouraging people to apply new skills.
Imparta's Coaching and Leadership Effectiveness tools measure when, how often and how well your managers coach their teams. The reports provided give you a powerful tool for managing your managers and making sure that coaching sticks as a key part of your culture.
What's the benefit? Managers play a crucial part in turning training into real change – but coaching itself needs to be measured in order to stick.
Accreditation and Recognition
Within a large-scale implementation, the various measures can be combined to create internal accreditation schemes that are aligned with pay and performance reviews, and create additional incentives for individuals to change their behaviour.
A typical accreditation scheme includes bronze (knowledge), silver (skill) and gold (advanced skill/demonstrated impact).
We can also provide expert support around the other aspects of recognition, helping you to design a creative reward system that fits your desired culture, and training managers to use it.
What's the benefit? Accreditation helps to drive and reward uptake of new skills. It also helps to identify and 'ring fence' top talent. One client found that unwanted turnover fell by up to 50%, and they did not lose a single 'platinum level' team member for many years.