I heard this statement a few years back from one of my colleagues – “Training is a waste of time, people just don’t engage.” This statement sparked some intense debate that shaped my own thoughts on training. (I wrote earlier about taking a holistic view of training).
To ensure that employee training is NOT a waste of everybody’s time, training managers, HR folks, business leaders and trainers should consider the following:
Align training to business goals: Training is a tool to generate better business results (better delivery, shorter delivery cycle, improved productivity etc.) through new skills. Making business goals explicitly clear to all before training always helps. What do you want this training to do?
Don’t just impart instructions: Training is not about imparting instructions and having great set of slides. Training is about co-relating, exercising, enabling/stimulating thinking and changing the behavior of people. Remember, you are “teaching” human beings, not “programming” machines through instructions.
Have right trainers: A trainer is not someone who is merely good at presenting. Trainer should be super-passionate about the subject matter, have deep expertise, understanding of how humans learn and most importantly, have a vision. Having hands-on experience is a must. When you have not done it yourself, you cannot train others effectively (because you cannot relate the “concepts” with “nuts-and-bolts” of the work). Trainers are leaders.
Let them practice: People learn the most while “doing”. Make sure that your training program is not an overdose of theoretical concepts by having hands-on practicing sessions at regular intervals. Better yet, avoid having a continuous training session. Train in bursts – short and focused. Let them go back to their work and apply the lessons. Makes sense?
Training SERVES trainees: Trainees are the customers of training process – it is about making “them” better. Focus should be on the trainees. As a trainer, it is easy to avoid questions and skip the detailing. But does that help? Consider every question as an opportunity to elaborate, relate and make meaning. Treat them well.
Training is an opportunity – to add value, to deliver an experience and to make a difference. How you use this opportunity makes all the difference!
P.S: Carnival of Leadership Development featuring my post “Building a Culture to Promote Differential Thinking” is up at Maximizing Possibility blog. If you are a leader at any level (or the one aspiring to be a leader), this compilation of 34 excellent posts will surely add a lot of value to your work. Go, check it out!