Employee Training & Development: Go with the TIDE!

By Cheuk Yue Wan, Georgiana Darau |

A recent survey of chief learning officers (CLOs) indicated that 80% of training costs is spent on employee training to add more values to the success of organization. Some people may be curious if the benefits really outweigh the costs brought by these training sessions. The answer is certainly not guaranteed. It is too simplistic to conclude “training is a good investment” or “training is a waste of time”. The success of a training depends on the following four key trends. Combining their first capital letter, we come up with “TIDE”.

T: Team training

In recent years, the nature of work has shifted from individual jobs to team-based work systems. Diverse skills, expertise, experience needed to solve complex problems, stimulations for creativity and innovation, and to mitigate errors are benefits brought by collaborative team work. Researchers identified training and development as one of the three interventions to shape team processes and thereby improve team effectiveness. Here are the examples of training:

• Cross-training

The approach is designed to help a team achieve operational readiness and promote teamwork by training team members to take on the tasks, roles, responsibilities, and functions of their teammates. The goal is achieved through the creation of interpositional knowledge, which helps develop shared team mental models and skills for enhanced team coordination.

• Team adaptation and coordination training (TACT) and Crew resource management training (CRM)

TACT is to enhance coordination and decision-making processes and to teach team members how to take advantage of idle periods to anticipate and discuss potential problems. As for CRM, it ultimately improves safety by enhancing teamwork, skill integration, and coordination. These are more commonly used in military, aviation, and medical teams training.

• Team self-correction training

The goal of this approach is to enhance the team’s ability to reflect on prior performance, identify errors, solve problems, and plan for future development. It is better to use guided team self-correction training than the unguilded one.

• Team building

Team building can work in both formal and informal ways. The four basic approaches of team building are goal-setting, interpersonal relations, role clarification, and problem-solving.

I: Influence of the training outcome on jobs (Training transfer)

The concern of transfer problem, which means that the training outcome cannot be applied in the work setting, has been raised with the increasing organizational investments in training. Transfer has been traditionally conceptualized as a function of two conditions: (1) generalization of learning to settings/situations on the job and, (2) maintenance of the learning over a period of time. On top of that, more recent researchers proposed transfer along two dimensions: general skills versus specific skills (task adaptability) and heavy supervision versus autonomous supervision (degree of supervision). These analysis determine whether the employee could apply the training knowledge into the job context. We can even divide the process of transfer into two global factors – content (i.e. what is transferred) and context (i.e. when and where it is transferred from and to). For example, in vertical transfer, the outcomes that can emerge to the team and organizations should be focused.

In order to predict transfer, trainee characteristics such as cognitive ability, self-efficacy, motivation, and perceived utility of training are the strongest predictors of transfer. Behavioral modeling and error management training in training design are effective for facilitating transfer. Positive and supportive work climate as a training environment is also important for the transfer.

D: Design and delivery of training

During training, important considerations involve training design and in particular the selection of an instructional strategy that can deliver the training experience necessary to achieve targeted learning objectives. The emerging trend in this realm is a more learner-centered approach. It initially started as programmed instructions which are step-by-step guidance and adjustment to individual needs. As jobs have grown increasingly complex and dynamic, it is crucial to develop adaptive expertise, or competencies that are specialized but flexible enough to be generalized to new problems and situations. Active and experiential learning became the results of the trend. By shaping the nature of instruction, influencing trainee’s motivational orientation, helping trainees to manage their emotions, and active learning interventions can influence trainee’s cognitive, motivational, and emotional self-regulatory processes and enhance their learning and adaptive performance. Here are some good active learning approaches:

  • Error management training: it is more effective for adaptive transfer than analogical transfer
  • Mastery training
  • Guided exploration
  • Exploratory learning and error framing: it had a positive effect on trainee’s performance, in particular their adaptive transfer and these interacted with cognitive ability and dispositional goal orientation
  • Emotion-control: it did not have direct impact on trainee’s performance but did reduce their state anxiety

E: Evaluation of training

Evaluation is necessary and critical for effective training programs. However, evaluation continues to be one of the most neglected aspects of the training process and only 43% of CLOs are satisfied with the evaluation. It provides input for determining whether a program should be retained and identifying changes that can be made to improve current and future programs. There are several types of evaluation. First, a formative evaluation, which occurs throughout the training design and training process, would identify weaknesses in learning objectives, training materials, or methods with the goal of developing solutions during training design and development. In contrast, summative evaluation is to evaluate the effectiveness of completed training interventions with the goal of providing suggestions about their use. It can be further classified into short-term and long-term outcome evaluation on identifying individual and organizational training outcomes and supports decision-making for future training and development investments.

Training is gaining attention and increasing investments by organizations. It will be fruitful for the organization to design training regarding the four emerging trends about training, also known as “TIDE”- Team training, Influence of the training outcome on jobs, design and delivery of training, and evaluation of training. Let’s go with the new training “TIDE” for your organization!




Bell, B. S., & Moore, O. A. (2018). Learning, Training and Development in Organizations: Emerging Trends, Recent Advances and Future Directions. In Ones, D. S., Anderson, N., Viswesvaran, C., & Sinangil, H. K. (Eds.). The SAGE Handbook of Industrial, Work & Organizational Psychology, 2v: Personnel Psychology and Employee Performance; Organizational Psychology; Managerial Psychology and Organizational Approaches. (pp. 215-234). SAGE Publications.

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