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Training your teams.

It can be a bit of a dirty word training, so much so that we’ve come up with other phrases that mean the same thing, such as learning and development, continuous improvement and so on.

It’s not that they’re the same, it’s just that the thought of being away from your desk or from being off the road, or speaking with your customers for a day can be a bit of a chore. There’s also the opportunity cost impact as well. If you’re not doing your day job, then money isn’t being made. The return on your investment, in terms of time is one thing, but then when you take into consideration the cost of developing and delivering the training that can be quite another. Do you go external? How do you gauge the quality of the person that is coming in to your business to train on your behalf? What I you train your best people up and they decide that they want to progress away and out of your company?

There are a few things to consider when thinking about training your team members.

  1. How important is it that your team members learn something new?
  2. The content that is to be delivered
  3. The audience, and how they absorb information
  4. The delivery of the training
  5. What happens afterwards

‘How important is it that your team learn something new?’; is a difficult one to answer, but probably one of the most important. There are several reasons to train your team up on new skills, personal development is one, but this needs to be hand in hand with a business need. There is little point training a marketing manager on advanced driving for example, because, unless you are a driving school, the marketing manager is unlikely to use that skill in their work for you.

However, keeping your team member engaged in your company is equally important, and it is a great way to recognise their contribution.

Having said that, technology changes on a daily basis, and keeping your teams up to date on the latest developments, to enable you to keep ahead of the competition is vital. This alone would make a compelling reason to continuously train your staff.

So to the content. What you train is as important as why you should do it. It is also directly influenced by how your delegates learn. People absorb information in different ways, some need to see something to understand it, whilst others need to practice. Some people just seem to absorb the information and apply it flawlessly.

Creating and then delivering the content should address all of these differing styles and contain a variety of approaches. Plenary presentations, media, practical workshops, group sessions, Q&A, spot quizzes, assignments and role play can all have a place in the training environment. The trick is to keep everyone engaged, even when their own individual style of learning isn’t being catered to at the moment.

If you get that right, combining the content, understanding the learner and delivering in a way that resonates with the room, then what happens afterwards should be that the training is applied in the delegates day to day working life. I have seen too many people leave a training course and say ‘that was great, but it doesn’t affect me’, if you hear this, then one or more of the key points above has been missed. You need to review the motive, the design, the delivery or in fact the individual.

Of course, if it works then you have an engaged team member who will be an asset to your outfit.

“But what if we train them up and they leave?” Asked the finance director.

“What if we don’t train them up and they stay?” Replied the CEO.