TAKEAWAY:  Organizations need knowledgeable and skilled employees in order to improve performance. Training always plays a big part. Now in-sourcing and the departure of baby-boomers means there needs to be more training, and it needs to be effective. So it’s vital to have the right people and the right approach.

Being passionate, in terms of doing what you like, is a very strong force.  If you love what you are trying to do, you are more likely to invest. For example, I love to play guitar and even if I never get any ovations, I will always play and get satisfaction from giving it my best effort. In fact, passion is at the top of a list of things required to be excellent at anything.

If you have the right people (those that are passionate about their work) they are psychologically aligned to participate in training, with a better chance of getting the desired results from it. This psychological (or dispositional) alignment has a positive impact on acknowledged barriers to training. This key of having the right passionate people is largely determined through the hiring process, where it is acknowledged that one of the three prime interview questions is, “will you love the job?”

Through the recent economic doldrums there has been attention on the notion of “doing more with less” – mostly cost cutting while pushing people to keep business alive.  Now, there is a continuing exodus of baby boomers from the workforce. Simultaneously, there are strategic shifts to in-source more of the workload responsibilities. This combination of in-sourcing and  loss of knowledge is confronting business with a new challenge. This could be regarded as one of those nice-to-have challenges for people looking for work – and it’s to everyone’s benefit if the people looking for work actually have passion for the work. And of course the usual profitable growth expectations are there as well. Training plays a big role in this dynamic situation. Knowledge transfer is needed so people can assume existing jobs that are being vacated and so people can handle additional new change-driven responsibilities.

Studies show training programs are not transferring knowledge to learners and that “training needs to be demonstrably effective” (Cheng, 2008).  For training to make the needed contribution, it of course has to be the right relevant content delivered in the right effective modern medium. More fundamentally, the important training productivity factor is the training approach or principle followed. Researchers and training thought leaders are pointing to “transfer of training” or “training for transfer” as a best current approach. This approach defines training success as the  ability of learners to demonstrate what has been learned in the work setting. This concept sounds simple but requires a lot of insightful diligence to be realized. Best practices and refinements associated with train-for-transfer are emerging and merit consideration.


  • Cheng, E., & Hampson, I. (2008). Transfer and training: A review and new insights. International Journal of Management Reviews, 10(4), 327-341.