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Suvinee Vats
Hello Everyone,

I am an HR administrator based in Bangalore. I need some thoughts and perspectives on the following topic-

Incentive based peer to peer training program---

peer to peer training program is generally informal program based on initiative taken by employees to share their knowledge based on their interest. Will linking this to monetary incentive help the company build on in-house talent (considering that employees taking lead as in-house trainers in their subject of choice will go above and beyond to polish their existing skill sets and then train others as well). Idea is to motivate employees polish their own existing skill sets and then pass their knowledge to others through formal training program. What can be the Pros and Cons of such a training program? Catch here is also the incentive part- will this help in motivating employees and adding value to the program?

Contrary to this wouldn't paying for a 2 day training session with subject matter expert be better? Which one will create a long term value addition to the organisation?

Please help with your thoughts.



From India, Bengaluru

Hey Suvinee ,
Initially you can have a Training session with a subject matter expert and get your key people trained and get an insight on the subject ... and then going forward they can pick up the same and train the others and new joinees ..
I have seen this model work in best both in terms of finances as well as knowledge sharing ..

From India, Delhi
Dinesh Divekar

Dear Suvinee,

I can understand that why you have raised this query of peer-to-peer training. I could read between the lines.

Possessing knowledge on particular subject is one thing, and ability to transfer it to someone's head is another. It's not even a question of transfer of knowledge, at workplace what we require is skills. Will peers be able to build the skills? If building skills in someone were to be that easy then possibly profession teaching, training, coaching etc would not have existed.

Training skills are absolutely independent. It takes years together to master these skills. If you wish to conduct peer-to-peer training, then are these peers capable of training? Who has assessed their training skills and on what parameters these skills were assessed?

Conducting training requires building knowledge resources. To do this, lot of time is spent in reading books, magazines, web resources etc. When external trainer conducts a training for a day, a sincere trainer could spend couple of days in building a content, align it to the requirements of the client and so on. Will "peer" be able to do this back end activity?

After each training, we the trainers maintain a file to record lessons. With each batch, the quality of the training improves. This goes on for years. However, in your case, "peers" will consider this training as their secondary duty and therefore, will they record their lessons? If records are maintained, then who will be the beneficiary of these records?

Any training, be it soft skills or otherwise, has to be linked to ROI. We must be very clear as to what should be either increased or decreased. Far from measuring training effectiveness when "peers" will conduct the training, have you measured the training effectiveness when external trainers were hired?

In the peers-to-peers training, both the sides are spending their time. One for learning and another for training. Will you be able to measure ROI on the time spent? Question of incentives can be discussed only when you generate revenue because of this method. Incentives will be small part of the savings/revenue. But then how will you measure the savings?

In view of this, the following questions merit their consideration:

a) Who will do the training, when they will do, where they will do, how they will do. Likewise, who will learn, when they will learn, where they will learn, how they will learn. What if initially there is lot of interest but it wanes over a period of time?

b) How will you measure cost of this activity? On what parameters will you measure?

c) How will you measure the benefits? On what parameters will you measure?

d) How will you measure costs arising out of transfer of incomplete knowledge? On what parameters will you measure? Will one single instance of customer dissatisfaction or operational breakdown wipe out the entire savings made?

e) Will the internal trainers be taken seriously? Please do not forget the famous Hindi proverb ghar ki murghi dal barabar .

What is the via media?: - As a alternate, you may launch "Formal Mentoring Programme" in your company. In this programme, mentees (learners) are assigned to a mentor. Mentor is a senior person who is amalgamation of guide + coach + trainer + consultant + adviser and so on. They meet regularly and in their meetings, mentor guides mentee in learning new skills. Therefore, focus shifts from training to self-learning. Above all, mentor helps in building personality of his/her mentor. Mentors help in building career of the juniors. Above all, mentors help in developing the bond with the company. Mentors help mentees in understanding the vision, mission and values of the company. They crack the organisation's culture and philosophy. As far as I am concerned, I help companies in instituting formal mentoring programme. Feel free to contact me if you wish to do that. Click on the hyperlink to know more about the training on Mentoring.


Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore

Dear Suvinee,
I can understand that, some of the companies can't afford external trainers and its difficult to manage the budget for that.
We have tried this peer to peer training program and it was somehow succesful.
We appointed experienced professional in-house and ask them to present their fav. Topic to us.
I agree with Mr. Dinesh, we must go and hire the services from external trainers and get benefical results. But many times, companies cant spare a specific budget for trainings. So mean while u can go with ur idea and develop the skills from ur experienced staff.
Definitely you will learn something, rather not to take initiative and learn nothing.

From Saudi Arabia, Jeddah
Suvinee Vats
Thank you so much Ashima, Dinesh, Kashif and Thinksurvey team. All your inputs are really very helpful. Apart from gaining a broader perspective to this issue, it has helped in boosting my confidence as well. I will think through all your inputs and see how it best fits in my current organisational dynamics. I agree to Mr. Dinesh, the ability to transfer knowledge also makes a huge difference to the outcome of training, and also the extent to which the internal trainers be taken seriously. A lot of other organisational dynamics go into this.
I will surely get back to you if i have further queries on this.

From India, Bengaluru
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