Training your staff is an essential investment in today’s changing and competitive environment. But just sending staff to attend training programs is not enough. You can maximize the impact of your investment by following these key guidelines for management and staff interaction “before”, “during” and “after” the training program.
Before the Training Program:
1. Review with staff why they were selected for the program and discuss anticipated benefits for the organization. This shifts their perspective from purely personal, “I am going to attend a training”, to personal and organizational, “The organization is making an investment so I can attend a training. The purpose of this investment is to help me upgrade my skills so that our organization becomes even more competitive and productive.”
2. Ask participants to talk about how they might benefit from the program. Where do they see opportunities for improvement in their own skills and/or behavior?
3. Discuss and obtain agreement from your staff on their punctuality, attendance and participation in the training program.
4. Redistribute participants’ workload during their absence so they do not return to a mountain of pending matters. This helps participants keep their minds focused on the course.
5. If sending more than one participant, create a “buddy system” before they go. Buddy teams can ensure that both participants get maximum value and understanding from the training.
During the Training Program:
1. If the course is more than one day long, have participants brief their managers as the course progresses. This can take the form of a short face-to-face meeting, a telephone call at the end of the day, or a summary fax written and sent overnight.
Participants should identify what material was covered during the day, what new learning occurred, and what value they see in applying this learning back at work.
2. Discuss any ambiguities or uncertainties that arise. Help participants identify examples of learning points in application on the job. Help formulate clarifying questions for participants to bring back to the course instructor on the following day.
3. If there are interim assignments to complete, engage others who are not attending the course in discussions and deliberations. This brings the learning experience back into the office, building internal an support network for during and after the training.
After the Training Program:
1. Meet with course participants to review:
* What were the most valuable learnings from this program?
* What will you do differently now at work? in which situations?
* When will you begin or try this new approach?
* What suggestions do you have to improve or customize the course?
* Who else should attend this particular training program?
2. Discuss organizational improvement based upon the participants’ new learning. Be willing to implement new suggestions on a trial basis with participants involved in tracking and implementation.