How to get the most out of our training
One of the most frequent comments we hear in training courses is: ‘My boss should do this!’ Training is best applied as a team development tool from the top down. If you are sending your staff to training, we strongly recommend that you have attended the training yourself.
By completing the training yourself, you will be able to manage their performance as you will know what it is that your staff should be implementing following our training.
Additionally, when a person returns from training, one of the first things they do is look upward and make a judgement about the skills and performance of their leaders. If their leader is not demonstrating the skills or behaviours that they have just learned they are less likely to demonstrate these skills or behaviours themselves.
Without effective planning, preparation and follow-up, the performance and behavioural improvements gained through training will likely be short lived.
If we work as a team — the training being our job, the preparation and follow-up being yours — we can get spectacular increases in productivity and work performance. Of course, we’d love to do the follow-up for you, but this is not possible unless we work with your business on an on-going basis (as we do with many of our clients).
Prior to your staff attending our training, you should brief them. The purpose of a pre-brief is to focus your staff to learning and then applying what they will learn back at work, in addition you should convey your expectations for attendance, punctuality, participation and homework.
There are two issues that you have to manage from this point if you want to get maximum benefit from our training courses. They are:
1. Helping the person reinforce and retain what they have been taught.
All our training course participants have been given extensive course handout notes and are encouraged to take notes of their own. The handout notes are designed as a reference, not as a course workbook. You should direct your staff to review their course notes at least twice over the six or eight weeks after the course is completed.
For most of our courses, attendees will be enrolled into an online follow-up exam, if you want to maximise the effectiveness of sending your staff to our training, you should ensure that they complete the follow-up exam 2 to 4 weeks after the course. The exams have an 80% pass rate and are designed to force your staff to study all course material diligently, this includes their own written notes.
It is also helpful if you debrief them thoroughly and allow them the chance to discuss their training experience and assign a follow-up project.
2. Keeping them out of their comfort zone.
It takes six months to overlay old behaviour patterns with new ones. If you allow a person to slip back into their work environment after training without follow-up, they will probably go back to their old ways fairly quickly, and most of the benefit of the training will be lost. You can prevent this from happening by negotiating specific goals and targets with them and forcing them to practice new skills until they become comfortable and natural. Again, your diary is useful — a monthly note to follow them up for the next few months and ensure that they are still doing what they agreed to will go a long way to making the training process more rewarding.
The things that will help you get a good result
Repetition — as previously stated, the more often you force people to go over training notes and repeat things they have been taught, the more thoroughly and quickly they will learn.
Utilisation — you should force the trainee to use the new skills they have been taught as soon as possible.
Internalisation — force practice of the new skills until they become ‘second nature’.
Reinforcement — achievement should be reinforced with praise, recognition and encouragement from you.
You can waste an awful amount of money on ill-considered training, whereas properly applied training is an impressive investment. The following essays further explore how to get the best result out of training.