What Is Menu Or Grab-Bag Training And Why Does It Fail?

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Some companies use a menu type approach to training. What they do is provide a "menu" of possible training seminars to employees and managers, and have employees choose what training they would like to attend. Often this approach is well-intended, the thinking being that employees will be more involved or engaged in the training if they get to choose what training to attend.

The problem is that the training is not tied to business results for the company, or tied to specific needs that employees may have. It dangles, unconnected. So, employees may attend training that interests them, or sounds entertaining, or "might be useful, without considering whether it's something they really need. Wants and needs in training are often not the same thing.

So, even if employees attend training offered on a menu basis, and even if the training is of high quality, it's not necessarily going to result in better performance. It may be entertaining, or fun, or enjoyable, and it might, on rare occasion, hit some needs rather than wants, the results cannot be seen in terms of performance.

The result is lost opportunity, misplaced resources, and a general frustration with training as managers start to wonder what the point is. The reality is that when the point isn't clear in the first place, and tied to performance, performance doesn't improve.


About Company

Bacal & Associates was founded in 1992 by consultant and book author, Robert Bacal. Robert's books on performance management and reviews have been published by McGraw-Hill. He is available for consultation, training and keynote speaking on performance and management at work.


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  • Performance management and appraisal MUST be a partnership between manager and employee where BOTH benefit.
  • Performance management can be the lever for improved employee engagement.
  • The review process is the LEAST important part of performance management
  • If managers aren't managing employee performance, why are they there?

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  • Casselman
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