In this economy, where every company dollar spent is monitored for ROI, why would companies still invest in employee training without guaranteeing they get results that impact the bottom line?
I thought about this when I was having a discussion with a colleague about a Management Training Seminar their sales team recently attended. My colleague thought the facilitators delivered their “message” in an informative way and the team came away with a lot of good “thoughts” they could apply.
Okay, sounds like a couple of hours well spent. Or were they? As I am always curious about how others train and get their message across, I asked the following questions:
- Did the facilitator demonstrate how the information would be applied to your actual daily work structure?
- Did the facilitator review what was covered in the seminar with your supervisor so not only is the supervisor familiar with the information, but more importantly, aware how he/she should follow up?
- Did the facilitator have a plan to monitor the impact of this session in specific measurable results for the company?
The answers to all my questions were “no”.
It seems to me this company is hoping that their team can miraculously apply what they learned in one session. Or maybe they are checking off a list of Management and Leadership training seminars they need to complete by year-end, without much consideration to their practical applications. Either way, in my opinion they just wasted their time and money.
Successful employee training has to be two-fold.
Step 1: The teaching must be clear and straightforward and applicable to the business at hand.
Step 2: There must be follow-up. A great trainer or teacher has a clear process they consistently follow to make sure the training works.
In my years of training managers, both new and experienced, I have found that the following process has served me well and got the best results. It can be applied to any employee training no matter entry level or C-suite.
Open the Door: If your audience is not comfortable and open to change, then anything you do moving forward falls on deaf ears and will not be effective.
Discover What They Know: Don’t guess, find out. Saves time so you teach what they really need, versus what you think they need.
Finding Common Ground: Use language and examples they can relate to.
Demonstrate: Roll up your sleeves and DO it, just don’t TELL them. It alleviates any confusion.
Perform: Watch them DO it. Don’t assume they understand until you see it work.
Summarize: What are they doing differently now that shows improvement? If they understand what they DID to create positive change and they will DO it again.
Follow Up: This is essential to make sure that these positive changes remain intact and improvement is measured and quantified.
If your company’s employee training is not organized to follow a clear process and meet specific performance goals, then you are simply throwing your hard earned money out the window. It’s not a matter of ‘if” or “should” you spend money on training. It’s “how” you spend money on training. Do it right and every dollar you spend on training will give you results that impact the bottom line in a positive way.
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