An Evaluation of a PACT Training Program

When the management of Carrier Transicold’s Athens, Georgia manufacturing facility wanted to upgrade the leadership skills of its staff, it turned to PACT Training. Carrier was reluctant to use outside consulting groups, having had negative experiences with poorly delivered off-the-shelf training programs. However, PACT Training was highly recommended by NutraSweet, Monsanto and other leaders in the manufacturing industry. PACT is well known for providing realistic, dynamic, practical and lasting training. Carrier decided to take a chance.
The Program
As with all PACT programs, The Human Side of Leadership training series was customized to Carrier’s needs through assessment interviews with Carrier management, supervisors and workers. The series emphasized skills these individuals needed to guide a diverse workforce through the dramatic changes trans-forming the marketplace. The PACT program series included multiple-day training programs for super-visors, a one-day program for managers, and a one-day-program for management/supervision teams.

The attendees were introduced to state-of-the-art leadership theories and practices using PACT’s exclusive living laboratory. PACT trainers created a life-like simulation of a Carrier work unit, focusing on personnel issues and learning goals identified by Carrier and confirmed by PACT’s assessment.

In the laboratory environment, participants were assigned to lead the troubled, unproductive staged work team toward more productive work practices. Sparks flew as real leaders were drawn into the scenarios and encouraged to sharpen their skills in confronting problem employees, managing diversity issues, resolving team conflicts and negotiating with bosses and colleagues.

The Evaluation
Sparks flew outside of the training arena as well, as Carrier leaders enthusiastically talked about their learning experiences with friends and colleagues. One such discussion caught the ear of experts in Adult Education at the University of Georgia, who for more than twenty years had challenged training’s ability to truly transfer learning from the training room into the workplace. These experts asked to visit the PACT Training program, and after observing the dynamic and involving nature of the training, asked Carrier to sponsor a full-scale evaluation of the program. Carrier agreed. Four months after the PACT Training sessions, the University of Georgia sent a team to interview the supervisors and managers who had taken the training and their staffs.

The UGA evaluation found that 60% of the supervisors and managers who participated in the PACT training had changed their behavior in a way that was demonstrably different from the way they acted before the training. All participants reported having increased their ability to proactively shape the workplace environment, instead of simply reacting to situations as they arose. In addition, the evaluation found:
Improved communication among all levels of personnel within the workplace
Enhanced long-term work relationships Supervisors and Managers responding to potentially disruptive situations strategically and deliberately
Increased capacity of participants to manage conflict and solve problems

The study found that Carrier’s return on investment (ROI) for the training could be measured in terms of the improvements made by Supervisor and Managers working together more cooperatively. Internal “turf battles” had been eliminated, and problems with employees that would previously have been allowed to grow were being addressed. Overall, Carrier reported:
Improved performance of workers through enhanced coaching methods
More focused staff and work unit meetings through greater cooperation
Increased information between workers and staff through enhanced feedback practices
Reduction of supervisor and worker complaints to human resources through stronger work relationships

Some Quotes from the Study

  • [Other training programs] “…just give you theory. That was the biggest difference, you got to use what they were trying to teach you, and you got to make your own mistakes and then go back and say what could have I done different?”–Program Participant

  • (With other training programs) “…it was the same presentation over and over and it felt so canned and so general. When you brought up specific discussions and questions they were always shuffled off. In PACT when you brought up situations, they were dealt with right there.”–Program Participant

  • [Following the training], “I had gotten a complaint about an employee. I got feedback from that employee…got into a conversation as opposed to a dictatorship. I think I gained that from PACT.”–Program Participant

  • “We hear a lot of supervisors talking about it or rehashing different scenarios. It had a pretty heightened awareness which created some dialogue after the fact… people were questioning when were they going to get PACT training. They wanted to get some of that good stuff, too.”–Participating Manager

  • “I am extremely cynical about training, since there is not much evidence of transfer of training to the workplace. The sophistication of PACT’s techniques causes me to think that there may be significant transfer.”–Margaret Holt, one of the Program Evaluators