There are three purposes to this article: first, to offer a training approach to employee learning and performance improvement that makes use of a step‐by‐step process of skill/knowledge creation. The process offers follow‐up opportunities for skill maintenance and improvement; second, to explain the conceptual bases of the approach; and third, to demonstrate the efficacy of the approach as it is applied in the field.
The methodology consists of two major features: the explication of how the template approach is applied, in general; and then the performance of two groups of employees is compared following training. One group was trained in the template approach while the other group was trained using more traditional methods. Conventional performance measures were used to assess group differences.
Following training the two employee groups were compared. The hypotheses stated that there would be no differences in performance on these measures: gross sales attained; manager rating of employee performance; and customer satisfaction with regard to sales representative's; product knowledge; helpfulness in the business context; and overall performance. Significant differences were noted for manager rating, product knowledge, and overall performance.
This study was exploratory in nature with a limited range of performance measures. The sample sizes were not large. The use of different pairs of trainers for the sub‐samples helps to dampen trainer bias but helps create differences in training conditions that could influence employee learning and performance.
Study results demonstrate that the training approach has merit and warrants further study. The study depicts how a partnership among trainers, managers, and employees can lead to successful training outcomes.
The training approach has substantial implications for management development regarding learning and change. The template approach adds to the repertoire of training methods. It also helps to reinforce the growing body of research that bases learning and performance improvement on script‐based methods.
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