Training is essential for success—always has been, always will be. But like everything else, not all training is created equally. Nor is there a one-size fits all when it comes to teaching employees. And that’s true for leadership – technical, interpersonal or whatever it may be. But there are tried and true strategies for success that can lead to more effective employees, a happier workforce and a better organization.
Here are 3 key strategies for training employees that can make the process more endearing for all those involved.
1. Don’t Skimp When It Comes To Trainers
In the short term, an employee will only rise as high as his or her trainer. Put a less than competent coach in charge of training, and don’t be surprised when you get intellectually challenged drones rolling off the assembly-line. The fact of the matter is you get what you put in with training, and it pays to think long and hard about who it is you want to be this role. Personality aside, sharing information and having the ability to transfer knowledge to another requires a particular skill. Make certain you choose wisely and don’t skimp.
2. Segment or Modularize Training
It’s true that “the brain can only absorb what the butt can endure.” Thinking you can sit a trainee in a classroom setting (or technical training scenario) for five straight days and have them actually learn everything (and retain it) is just a crock. Create useable, absorbable chunks of homogeneous learning. Send them out and let them try it on for size. Bring them back and try some more. There’s a golden opportunity inside every organization for key training moments and many of them just can’t be absorbed from the classroom. Take a hard look at your organization, make sure to find opportunities for learning and use them all.
3. Make Certain It’s Actually a Training Opportunity
If an employee’s job is to press the big red button when the big black dial reaches “10,” and they don’t, it’s likely not a training challenge. In other words, make certain you only spend time and energy on those opportunities with the most return on your investment. If it’s a mistake or an error, then it’s likely not a training issue, but just that—a mistake.
It’s easy to confuse training needs with corrective actions, and sometimes even discipline. They are neither. Training is for demonstrated skills shortfalls only. Olympic athletes need training; professional actors and musicians need training. Even the best professional sports players in the world need training. It’s only in business where we think, “…nah, she’ll be ok. She can just learn by watching Bob.”
Effective training doesn’t require much more than a little good old fashioned common sense. Make certain to lead with trainees who actually perform and don’t make the mistake of thinking the classroom can ever replace the front line when it comes to providing teachable moments. Finally, use caution when training and don’t waste time or energy overloading trainees with information that doesn’t help them in the long run.