All posts by rafael ramos

Is training effective today?

Training by companies in this day and age is centered in quick, impactful information to get the employee to improve their methods to increase productivity. The gradual evolution of training has given birth to a host of models to choose from and methods to deliver it to people. These may  involve Online courses, zoom meetings, with the occasional classroom style training in the form of seminars and the ever-collaborative training as “best practices” training.

Changes to company training since the 80’s have brought benefits from improvement of employee output, to increase productivity and compliance standards, reduce turnover and increase in innovation strategies. All of this increases the company’s bottom dollar in the end. Employee training is important in satisfaction, motivation, a clear status of how the employee’s current work level and prepares the person for new challenges.

What is the reality of training?

From what you read at the top, training might look quite straightforward and accomplishes the goals the company needs to grow and be more competitive, but some of you might see things on a different light. Questions like:

Do the employees take the training serious?

Do employees think it was a worthwhile?

Do they understand how to take this new information and apply it successfully to their work?

These three questions might be the most important feedback the trainer/organization might look forward to determining how effective their training improves productivity. As technology allows for organizations to be more sensitive as to what their workers need to succeed, training itself has become very bland. Trainings will never answer every little or gap that can come across during their work, and yet some companies believe that once the training is done, everyone involved will immediately be able to use the new skills they have learned.

So, here are two questions in addition to that, are trainings transferring information or are they transferring skills to the workers? Are companies considering the way people learn or the importance this training is to them, what does it mean in the general view of their contribution to the work done?

Among the many models created in the past I mentioned about before, one interesting model is the percentages of how a person learns. The learning pyramid from the National Training Laboratories shows a good breakdown how a person can maintain new information and how to transfer that information to others. This pyramid goes beyond the “visual, tactile and auditory” we speak about when someone tells us “This is the way I learn”. It brings about the method of learning by doing, a practical way to take a person teach them and ensure the skills needed to be learned is done to retain and apply with no doubts as to whether the person has learned the skills necessary.

A hypothesis (or a light bulb moment I got)

At this time, let us review the process of how a person is trained. From the discussion at the beginning, the main reason for training is to enhance the skills of the person which will in turn provide for more productivity and greater profits to the company. But there are other, more secondary reasons, to look again at how we take training to a new level and at the same time benefit the person and the company.

First question, what are the goals for this training? Yes, yes, yes, all roads lead to productivity and the bottom dollar, but training is an exercise in forecasting, planning, and guiding that future to be one that provide us with more productivity and greater profits. Second question, is what we are teaching something that will benefit the employee in the long-term view of their career? Their job? (These are not the same, go with me on that for now!!)

Some companies see training in a negative light because they have the fear once the employee is trained; another company will offer them more money and will lose all the time invested in training that employee. It is the valid concern of small employers since it takes great time and effort to train people in a manner that will yield success for that business. But at this time lets concentrate on training as one part of the solution.

When training, all employers wish to train people fast, only once and all is good in the world, that is not the truth, but we all think it at times. So, we need to prepare the person for training, making sure they know they need to be mindful of what is being taught. The person needs to see what they are asked to do, this is where a trainer will begin point out the key points (or the “this is important” blurb). After the first run, the person will try it with the trainer guiding him through and also explaining the “why” of the key points, it is here the person will learn and be able to be involved in the process of doing the work correctly. And here is where I see a gap that forms when a person learns the mechanics and not the reasons behind it thereby making the person accountable for the actions they take. If you do not know why you are doing your work, you can easily believe it is not important to you, which in turn does not benefit the company.

From this step next comes the real clincher for the whole training to take effect: follow up. Once the training is done, there must be a way to revisit with the person to find out if they are putting their knowledge to work. This will involve checking on the individual frequently at first, then slowly make the check-ins at lesser times until the training checks stop all together. These checks can be done by the trainer or the supervisor with a straight intent that these checks are temporary. At this time, it is established the person knows the new skills well or comprehends the information from the training.

There are other reasons to have this method be the backbone of your training, namely when looking for trainers, succession planning, and improvements to the job itself, but those can be discussed later. Right now, this training method’s main goal is to ensure the person gets most of the training while being supported and lowering the incidences of errors.   

In the end, training is an investment in the people that will grow the company, and in teaching and verifying the person knows what needs to be done from start to finish, the company is ensuring they have personnel that will work for the benefit of the company. This is the return on investment that lets everyone know if it is effective and yields growth.

The way from here

2020 is done, 2021 will bring opportunity and setbacks to our lives. To some of tus the end of this dark tunnel is in sight while others are still fighting to survive. In all of this, at what ever stage you may be in, the question will come up……. what is the way from here?

You may have lost a loved one, a job, a house, something that meant a lot to you and maybe your loved ones. How do you continue?

It is at this time; we turn to something greater that will give us that extra strength to move forward and continue. But what will we rally behind? Anger or resilience? Will we join the group of people that seek to bend the universe to their will, or will we seek to understand how to be better from all this?

2020 is done, but we find ourselves at the best crossroads of each of our lives, how do we pick up and continue? Because we must continue, there is no pause button nor a way to get off the cray ride. We are stuck on the seat and wea re heading to the top of the roller coaster hill, eventually we will head down again.


This is a great opportunity to learn how to focus on our resiliency. This is a skill that gives dividends in exponential ways, to be prepared and willing to face the most difficult times in our lives and not let it . overcome us. To learn the skill to endure and stay the course no matter how long it takes, a person strong in resiliency knows that he will outlast any hardship.

We all face harsh adversities at one time or another. Sometimes the worst, hardest and most horrible times in our lives. To be resilient is to know that you are here for the long haul, the good, the bad, the horrible and the unexpected, it is all the same. Two questions that start this journey are, what do you control and what do you not control?

You have heard this, so this is not new, but what better time to put this to use. What better time to learn how to outlast any major obstacle by just realizing you can do what you control, and what you cannot control just let go. How do you respond, not REACT, to the upcoming obstacle? How do you realize that no matter what comes, you have yourself and your conviction to see any problem as temporary?

Life is difficult, unfair, it leaves us powerless, frustrated and thinking we have the worst of luck. And if we let it, life will hold us down and crush us under its weight. It is only through that self-defiant act of not giving up, not allowing the circumstances to dictate your actions and your thoughts. It is at that moment, when faced with adversity we have two choices; drive into despair, or rise to solve the problem/opportunity.

This is the opportunity to take a step towards being a better person and define our determination not to quit. And see the dark moment as what it is………….a moment. That is all. Nothing in the universe lasts forever, good or bad. Nothing can remain the same, there are good times and there are bad ones. All of us, in one way or another, go through this loop we have great times and we have hard or sad times.

Realize that the phrase “what ever does not kill us, makes us stronger” may sound a bit cliché-ish, but brings about an inner serenity of hope for trouble times.

If what you face will not end in your destruction/death, then whatever you feel when facing a difficulty is not coming from that difficulty, but from your perception of it. in knowing this, you have the ability to control how you respond to that difficulty.

This is how we get stronger; this is how we learn how to practice for those hard moments that come, but that also go as well. Take this time to learn to work through the adversity to become more resilient, this is a great time. You may not realize it, but what if………?

The Game has changed

2020 is already up on us. For us here at the SNMP we see a new way to live our life’s. This year we are striving to give more information to all about what you will need to succeed in life.

All of us are trying to make our situation better and this organization knows that the wave of distraction on an ongoing basis does not help make good decisions. Living paycheck to paycheck is the new dream, let alone find a way to improve our situation.

For this year, we hope to start a conversation into how to keep our new year’s resolution alive to change or be better throughout the year. All of us know the struggle of work, family and our own growth. With all this running around we forget the one true fact, we will fail if we try to do this ourselves. We cannot be everything to everybody 24/7, this is a recipe for disaster. We always do better when we are helping one another out.

I challenge all of you to think what you wish to improve and be consistent throughout the year. It is not just about getting that yearly gym membership that will be collecting dust by the end of February, but strive to push yourself to start and then to look for improvement. The game has changed this year, it is no longer ok to just survive, we have to thrive. We have to get out of our comfort zone and push our envelopes. And if we fail? This is not bad……how else are you going to learn? The best teacher is failure, and that is where we can start.

The Illusive “Unicorn” employee

As an employer, in the course of your talent search, you look for applicants that have the skills you need for the job. You sift through many resumes, some well written, while others you wonder for the survival of the human race. Then you hit that weird resume, that resume that hits all your like points, that resume that almost speaks to you alone just saying “I’m here”. You cannot put it aside, a possible candidate that appears while dealing with the mountain of resumes in front of you.

Immediately an interview has to be set, you cannot wait to find out if this person is real.  You meet with this person and all the bells and whistles just go off, you’ve found your candidate. Better than that!! He or she does not need to be trained!!! They know what you need, could this be true? Could you have found that elusive employee, the one all employers seek, but never find……” The Illusive Unicorn Employee”?

Conversation definition

As you may have guessed or experienced, the illusive unicorn employee is a term I have coined to those employees’ employers would do whatever it takes to have in their payroll. This is the type of employee which you feel if you had ten more of him/her in your business, you would be successful and profitable.

The reality is……. There is no such thing as a unicorn employee, but employers still look for them no matter what and they won’t admit it. There are two realities that come with this assumption:

First, if employers want to attract a more skilled workforce, they are going to have to consider making employee retention their first priority. This is where battles for talent begin when one employer recruits from a competitor by raising their wages (you would not believe what one dollar can do to start a person thinking about quitting to move over). For a job seeker this means the need to know your skills, their level of expertise and how to sell them (in an interview) has become more important than ever to know.

Second, in finding this “unicorn” an employer will immediately see this applicant was trained. An actual employer took their time and effort to invest in this individual. The employer taught them how to do the job, how to properly execute and maybe even improve on the job. All these are vital skills that add to the applicant’s portfolios. This is one solution builds employee loyalty to the company and lowers the uncertainty if combined with regular performance meetings.

At this time if you have noticed, I have not mentioned anything dealing with raises. A raise would be the most wonderful thing…. for the employee. If the company is not doing well, raises are at the bottom of list when it comes to progressive prosperity for a company. There are other ways to retain an employee other than giving him/her more money. Currently “value” comes from seeing your impact on the company and on the community. The Gordon Gecko moment of the 80’s has passed and instead employees want to see the impact they have on their communities and families.

In looking at this mythical employee and how important the conversation today for employers on how to deal with the retention, attraction and growth of their employees, we come back to the relationship of employers and employees broken for decades now. Employers today do not see the need to train or invest in their employee because the employee is transitory or just a commodity to use and dismiss at will. As with anything which looks as a promising idea in the short term, this creates its own beast. if the employer doesn’t take care of the employee, the employee will take what they can and leave. And that means that anything an employee learns or acquires from the employer they can take with them if they leave.

There must be a push for employers to start investing in the retention of employees that have spent time and effort with the company. To truly be successful as a business person, an employer must control a large majority of what affects their business, without this you will struggle on an ongoing basis. For the employee, it is a must that you know where you want your career to go and how to stay on top of it. If you know what you are worth, then you should go after it, of course, but the mission is simple……sustain a successful career.

Careerpaths: Who are you? What do you want?

In determining a career path, we go back to 5th grade or the first career day at your school……what do you want to do when you grow up? Here is where the circus of pilot, doctor, firefighter come in for the amusement of young and eager children. The teacher becomes the “MC”, bringing in from distant lands the protector of the city – “The Police officer”. And in this other arena the healer with a thousand remedies – “The Nurse”. All the showmanship of careers and the exciting dream of what these eager young minds could become when they are older. This show of possibilities gets minds churning with the child asking themselves, what do I want to be? If the speaker’s exciting and persuasive the kid will know. “I want to be an astronaut” or “an Engineer”!

But the real question that does not come until sometime later in high school is ……who are you? And what do you want?

Who are you?

To determine what career you want, there will be a small internal conversation in your head trying to find out who you are, and do not think this is a one-time thing, with life changes, come career changes. You may have answered the question “I am doctor, but later in your life you come to terms you want to be a chef, very few of us see our career as what they are…… a “path”. Paths twists, bend, break or even change direction. The main point to remember is that the path is not set in stone. Which bring us to the next point.

What do you want?

So now the question come to the forefront, what do you want to do with your career? As simplistic as this question is, it must be answered to have a guide to what jobs you will be looking to do in your life. As you read this you may have already answered “I want what everyone wants, to make money!” Not everyone answers these questions the same way, money is not the driver as it used to be in the past. Now-a-days the call from younger workers and some older workers is to live your life as full as possible, the so called “balance of work and life”. This question really drives at how happy you will be with your given career and about what you want to get out of it. This question sets your path my action, it sets what type of jobs you will look for, how far you can go with your job and how much money you can achieve.

But do not forget as each of these two sections change who you are or will be your wants will change as well. If it is what was said at the beginning of our journey, the path will change, bend or even intersect with another’s path, our responsibility is to take hold of our careers and know how to make them work for us.
Good Luck.

The Reality of Careers

In the past decade in blogs, news magazines, and television, careers come up every quarter or so presenting the hottest jobs, the jobs which pay the most, jobs which are high stress and so on. For some of us this is a call to really think whether we need to change, whether we are in the right field or whether we are looking for a job that “call” to us. All roads lead to one place CAREERS. Who are we? Or, who are we going to become?

Currently if you do not have a good education, chances of getting a “family sustaining” job become harder each year. But now education is getting expensive, that which assured equality (Education) will be now a privilege to the few. But in some areas, the internet has become the new equalizer with its now vantage of online learning, if you have the money. This push for further learning is to build what will become our identity once we are declared an adult……a career.

Throughout the US, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) has come out emphasizing one major point for individuals……career paths. Career paths are the new hot ticket item trying to lower the percentage of individuals looking for work, and keeping folks working until retirement. Career paths are started in high school with big flair and hopes for students to follow their career plans to college, vocational or even to a job itself. WIOA has pushed the concept of supporting job seekers and employers, to integrate their services to better connect them with local and state efforts. 

Now here is where the reality sets in. we may agree with career paths and the need for workers to get more skills needed for evolving jobs, but if your main worry is to put food on the table, career paths take a strong back seat to other needs. Everyone, and I mean everyone, functions at the five levels a man by the name of Maslow theorized. Abraham Maslow theorized these levels of human motivation, that put on the workforce lens, do bring some guide as to how to tackle a career path. Most people that are looking for work will first worry about how to get the basic needs met (food, shelter and security). If this first part is not achieved, career paths are a quaint idea. All of us distinctly know we need to have this part of our lives fulfilled before taking our next step. That next step encompasses our mental needs (psychological) which brings the idea of career paths into a person’s main scope.

At this second part, the needs now turn to a psychological attainment of the company a person keeps and the feeling of accomplishments they wish to do throughout their career. Our sense of purpose takes over, we want to make a difference and how we are impact ourselves, our family and our community take a front role. This is where career paths are a wonderful addition to a person’s personal goals.

Taking on the challenge of career paths, one must see the entire person first and their focus to the type of career they are looking to fulfill. Are the looking for a job? Are they looking for a career? This is where wrap around services came into fruition. To some agencies and organizations this might prove as an obstacle, to others through collaboration and partnership, it will prove a way to put people into family sustaining careers.