05 May The Mindful Manager: When Training Sticks
Don’t waste training dollars on material that will be tucked away in the desk drawer or wastebasket. Many training programs leave little incentive for employees to take “next steps” for discovery and development.
The best training experience is with a small-scale live audience (say 15-20 people). Emotionally engaged face-to-face connection delivers results. Web-based training has a place, but has severe limitations – especially when manager and employee relationships are weak within an organization.
My preference is to train with “Strengths” – knowing my strengths and the strengths of the managers and participants. This helps me understand how people learn, process information and influence the rest of the team.
Here are some suggestions to help management and HR professionals to make team-training stick (like honey):
1. Leadership Support: connect training objectives with senior management support. If a training topic influences culture or employee engagement, all senior leadership should participate in the training and “own it”. It becomes a priority to share a new common language with all employees (at every level). Senior leadership can “kick-off” the training with features, benefits to staff/company and share how the material makes a personal difference.
2. Pre-Game Strategy: a personal meeting to review the objectives and scope of work is necessary prior to the training program. The training team and upper management/senior executives collaborate together and determine the real needs of the corporate group. This helps establish a “good match” for the interaction between trainer and participants. Throwing out last minute training audibles because management changes their minds before the session can impair timing, materials, and results. A responsible trainer provides a practical timeline for proper preparation.
3. Anticipate Participants Expectations: have participants review a summary of the workshop and submit questions prior to training. Any questions can be presented to management for clarification. This builds engaged momentum with the participants.
4. Testify: direct managers bring validity how the material has impacted their performance. Personal testimonies work well, resonating with participants. Allow the participants to ask in-depth questions to management.
5. Discovery: an effective trainer is alert, listens and is cognizant of the engagement level of the class. Learning sticks when peers learn from each other. The 20-80%principle applies: 20% is instructor time and 80% is participants learning from each other.
6. Availability: the trainer is available and approachable for concerns or questions after the session(s). Participants should have the freedom to question and explore ideas. Some of the premier moments with training come from exploring fresh work ideas from participants. Plug and play trainers who quickly leave after the sessions miss out on practical feedback and input from the participants.
7. Accountability: managers develop a plan that reinforces the learned concepts and new skills with staff. If the material cannot be measured, it cannot be managed. Key ideas are recognized and communicated by the team, for the team. Managers can act as a catalyst to bring out the best practices from the learned material. If the manager knows each employee’s strengths, he/she can leverage for their benefit and the company. Setting short-term and long-term goals (by the employee) assist immensely with “buy-in”.
The worst outcome? It comes from a manager who expresses the training as a waste of time or implies it as a punitive measure caused from mistakes by the employees. Managers who remain rigid with daily production quotas while staff attends training distracts their human development. If the direct manager does not support the training, neither will the employees.
Training is a billion-dollar industry. Make sure training dollars are well invested and the training becomes transformational to your organization. Make a goal to provide breakthrough pathways for improved performance. Training that includes “self-discovery” can provide the greatest “wow” moments and development progress for your people.
Search and find the right “training” fit that will help your company save or make more money. Pursue training that sticks with your people.