Ralph Lauren: A Case Study in Continuous Training
Earlier this week, Ralph Lauren Corp. made headlines after settling a bribery case that dealt with issues the company was having with its Argentine stores. The Company managed to avoid prosecution due to its quick action to promptly report the violations and terminate the guilty parties. Additionally, according to a MSN Money article:
“Lauren won’t be prosecuted under agreements for maintaining worldwide risk assessment and training employees about the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which it was accused of violating.”
This point illustrates why Ralph Lauren is a shining example for the importance of continuous training.
Here are three reasons why continuous training is important:
- Volume of material – In many organizations, the sheer volume of material that employees need to be trained on may be daunting. Traditionally, the corporate training approach has been to break up this material into long classroom sessions; however, retention rates from these sessions are scientifically proven to decrease if the material is not continually reinforced. With a continuous training approach, the volume of training can be broken down into more digestible pieces and consumed more frequently. This approach can result in higher retention and a far more knowledgeable workforce.
- Changing policies – In the case of Ralph Lauren and other companies that do business internationally, there can be a variety of policies that employees need to be trained on. In many cases, these policies may be updated and there may be instances where these policies need to be reinforced. With a continuous training program, companies can adapt their training programs to accommodate changing policies. Companies using a continuous training program can ensure that employees are trained on the most up-to-date policies in a timely manner.
- Immediate retrieval – Although being trained on material is important, the real value of a training program is measured in an employee’s ability to retrieve and apply that material when necessary. In a traditional training environment, a given employee may not have received training on a specific subject for many months; therefore, when it comes to application of this training, the employee may be at a disadvantage. With a continuous training program, employees can be kept up-to-date with a variety of topics and these topics can be altered based on incidents and importance.
Continuous training is the way of the future. Breaking down a training program into digestible pieces will make it easier for a company to deliver training more often and also make it easier for employees to consume and retain that training. Developing a training program based on the way people actually learn will simply result in a greater return on training investment.