From Groan to Great – Setting the Stage for More Effective Training

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There are companies that incorporate training on a regular basis as part of their culture, there are those that do more sporadic training, and some do not offer training at all. Regardless of which group your company falls into, when you decide to implement training –how you roll it out and how you prepare your workforce for the training can greatly impact how effective it is.

The mindset with which employees come to training depends on how they are introduced to it. Being told “We are having training and you have to go” as opposed to “You are being provided with the opportunity to take part in a company-wide initiative” can have a dramatically different effect on how employees feel about actually participating. One results in a disengaged, unfocused group and the other results in a more engaged and eager group. However, it is not just that simple.

Prior to inviting your entire staff to training, managers and supervisors should help to set the stage by speaking to individuals and teams about the training and what they can expect. Let them know that it is being provided not just for the benefit of the company, but for the employees own personal and professional benefit. Explain that others in the company, including managers themselves, have had the same or similar training and fill them in on what they can expect to gain from it. Relate specific information from the training and how it will help them to succeed in their current position, on a current project and brand them as a more promotable employee.

It is also important for managers and supervisors to show employees that they are supportive of the training. This is achieved by engaging individual employees or teams prior to and after the sessions. Before hand ask them what their personal and professional goals are, find out what they are expecting to gain from the training program. Afterwards engage them by asking what they did, what knowledge they actually gained, and how they intend to apply that to their current position or projects. And find out if there is anything that you can do personally to help them! As the great Stephen Covey says “… to learn and not do is really not to learn. To know and not to do is really not to know.”

The “Groan” that many companies hear when training is announced has more to do with the way it is announced and its relevance to individual employees than the content of the actual training itself. By focusing on individual employees and incorporating them into the conversation prior to training you are helping them to see how learning at work can assist them in influencing the direction of their own career. In essence it is about creating a sense of ownership. Get them involved and engaged up front by making the training about them and for them. You are more likely to get a sincere and resounding “Great” at the announcement of upcoming training, and it will end up being that much more effective.

This article was written by Betsy Day. To get more great advice from Women's Toolbox Media Diva Betsy Day, visit her website at: http://signature-presence-at-work.com

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