This article was contributed by Diana M. Osinski, Specialist Leader, CPT, SPHR, Deloitte Consulting LLP.

During the period between April 15, 2010, and July 14, 2013, Deloitte Consulting LLP provided consulting services to the Tax Administration of Kosovo (TAK) on a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) project. The overall objective of USAID’s Efficient and Sustainable Tax Administration of Kosovo Project was to strengthen capacities of the Tax Administration of Kosovo to improve voluntary taxpayer compliance; bring noncompliant taxpayers into the formal economy; implement tax laws and regulations in a fair and transparent manner; and improve revenue realization. I had the pleasure to work on this project as a short-term technical adviser in a training capacity over a three-year period. My role was to help TAK transform its nascent training department into a progressive one that was capable of identifying and prioritizing staff training needs as well as implementing training standards, tools, and protocols and a process for continual improvement to sustain them.

The training work in Kosovo started with conducting a training needs assessment (TNA) that documented TAK’s performance gaps at three levels: worker, work, and  workplace. Among the many interesting statistics that were captured was the staff’s acknowledgment that they are only 50% to 65% effective, efficient, and productive, given the mutiltude of work-related challenges such as lack of quality training, outdated job descriptions, limited policies, and outdated computers and software.  Definitely, this was a number that caught senior management’s attention!

Originally, TAK’s training department had one staff member whose primary responsibility was making travel arrangements for minimal staff to attend donor-provided training outside of Kosovo with limited impact on the organization who wisely observed “we have been servant consumers; we took what [training] we were served.” Three years later, TAK’s training department is staffed with three personnel who are focused on closing identified performance gaps to improve worker, work, and workplace performance. The impact of the training department is high, making it an employer of choice within the government of Kosovo. Through a comprehensive training of trainers program, which is part of Deloitte’s CYPRESS Sustainable Learning Transformation Solution, TAK has 45 in-house instructors representing 5.9% of its staff. This methodology taps internal subject matter specialists and turns them into strong instructional designers and facilitators. Specifically, TAK specialists can generate and deliver internal programs that improve performance and meet TAK’s specified training standards. The administration also developed a repository of 50 technical and managerial courses, or 64.94% of the 77 courses identified by the TNA. More important, TAK staff now indicates, through an annual employee opinion survey, that they are 80% to 89% effective, efficient, and productive.

What do many techncial assistance programs have in common? The answer is, measurable impact on mutliple levels:

  • Talent–You can affect the organization staff as you introduce international leading practices along with helping them with the training, tools, and protocols to apply, maintain, and improve them.
  • Organization–You can affect the organization by helping it in its efforts to improve application of essential knowledge and skills.
  • Country–Regardless of the organization, your contributions can influence improving the country where you are engaged. In some cases, the impact can be directly linked to improved country reported or tracked macro statistics.
  • You!–And finally, many projects can affect you and leave you with enduring memories, friendships, and the knowledge that your work has left a significant and sustainable impact on the worker, work, and  workplace.

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