This is the second in a series of articles on managing or leading a team.
Over $70 billion is spent each year on corporate employee training. Think of all the internal company training that may not even be included in this number. And yet the majority of training efforts do not return the results expected. Ever stop and wonder why?
As I work with companies to improve their training processes, I believe that lack of preparation for the training is affecting the long term success of their investment. Too often companies just dive right into training and if the employees are not ready to receive the information, time is wasted and frustration is bound to show up later for both the teacher and the student.
So what do I mean to properly prepare for training?
These questions need to be addresses before training begins:
What was the reason that this employee training was scheduled to happen?
Leaders need to understand why training is happening. What event triggered the need? Is this going to address a large change in structure or process? Is this session a part of a larger initiative? Was it triggered by a specific event like a missed goal or poor customer reaction?
There are many reasons why training is needed. One has to understand why the training is happening so one is ready to answer the following question.
What behavior are you expecting to change?
All good training focuses on actionable behavior. Actions not theory. Tasks not ideas. If training is to make a change in results there needs to be clearly explained behaviors that will generate the results. For example if the company is looking for more sales, and management feels more calls will create more opportunities, this has to be clearly explained to the team.
What is the expected outcome?
This applies to both specific measurements and also time frame for results to happen. The more one can prepare the team ahead of time with what results are expected, (in specifics) as well as when the results are expected then everyone is clear and can adjust their actions to meet this schedule.
Is your team aware of the training and what is expected?
Now in many cases, there may be weekly internal trainings and one may think these questions do not apply. They do. Every time there is a training session it should be clear to the team what will be covered, how long the training will be and what they are expected to bring with them. By making sure this happens, it will save time during the training and also have your team ready to receive the information.
Prepare a handout with bullet points listing key takeaways for each participant to be given out BEFORE training begins. What this will ensure is that your team can read over what the training will involve and be able to focus on what is being said versus jotting down notes trying to keep up. Their notes can be added to the sheet or they can highlight areas of the training that they may have questions on.
Without addressing these questions ahead of time you will run the risk of providing inefficient employee training. With the proper preparation you can maximize your time and then you can easily monitor results and create long terms success.