Tips on Successful Training
BEFORE THE TRAINING
Consider Different Delivery Methods
Consider employing various types of training or training delivery methods: off-site; on-site; and online, self-study, and instructor-led. Your employees learn in different ways and at different paces, which is why it is important to make sure that everyone has access to the material and can be engaged in different ways.
Send employees to relevant conferences, bring a training professional to your own location, and provide access to online training programs.
The best training methods employ a mixed method approach, combining at least two of these options. Also, consider that most, if not all, recent college graduates are used to taking training online, so creating that option is an effective way to motivate students to participate.
Review Your Training Materials
A good training course explains not only how to perform a task but more importantly why, so users understand the business rationale behind what they’re doing. Each training session should set a scene of a common business scenario that students can identify with easily as part of their job responsibilities. Ensure the materials are applicable to what users need to learn and include plenty of hands-on practice. This is essential, because while book knowledge is important, if your employees cannot then apply this knowledge in real-world scenarios, it is of no use.
Give External References
As part of design use external sources to give your participants further learning, practical examples and context to your training. This can include books, eBooks, downloads, web links, social media links, etc.
Create Reading Material
You can ask employees to take notes at a training class, but the chances are that some will not. Create a summary of your presentation, and give it to employees as they enter the training. This will allow them to make notes as they follow along, and have the information so they can reference it later.
Don’t Let Training Be An After-Thought
It is likely that your organisation has invested a lot of money in software, programmes, or specific methodologies, but if you don’t train people to use it effectively, then this investment largely will be wasted. Failure to make training a critical component of any ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system is the No 1 mistake many organisations make. The best way to show your organisation’s commitment to a comprehensive and ongoing training program is when the support for it starts at the top executive level.
Set The Dress Code In Advance
You don’t want to be that person in jeans when everyone else is in a suit – or vice versa! Publish the dress code to everyone in advance.
Don’t Pin Your Hopes On Public Courses
You won’t get the take up you are expecting, the training market has moved on – sorry!
Ensure Course Is Relevant
Ensure that training is relevant to the audience and will help them achieve their goals.
Structure Training And Define Objectives
Ensure your training is structured well with defined objectives that can be measured and assessed at the end of the training
Engage Learners Through A Variety Of Techniques
Ensure that you use a range of questioning techniques, practical exercises and that learners have a number of opportunities to demonstrate their understanding of the content, in order to make the training engaging and learner-centred.
Don’t Do Monday Mornings Or Fridays
Obvious really, but it’s amazing how often courses are agreed without checking which day of the week they are on.
Don’t Create A 5 Day Course
Participants simply won’t put aside a full week to attend your training course. Their boss simply won’t allow it and if they are the boss, they won’t want to take a week out. Condense your 5 days content into 3 days.
Monitoring your employees’ progress is a critical, yet often overlooked, aspect. Survey employees immediately after the training to assess how well they liked the course, trainer (if applicable) and how well the training met their needs. Also, training administrators should monitor student progress and training completion; a training course that is only half finished is not going to be effective. Finally, make students accountable with meaningful applicable exams.
Define a series of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for your training program, such as average number of training hours per student, average completion percentage, average final grades, etc. Review these KPIs at regular intervals and manage your training program and progress against these benchmark values. Make use of automated tools to help you with this part. For example, an online learning management system (LMS) system automatically sends out reminders to students when it detects that progress has stalled.
DURING THE TRAINING
Facilitate And Encourage Interaction During Breaks
Spot those introverts that usually hang around at the coffee table and draw them into conversation with other participants and seek opportunities to put participants together who could do business.
Draw Out Key Burning Issues At The Start Of The Training
Collect the key issues your participants want covered – the bits they really came along to hear and make sure you cover them earlier in the day. And if you can’t cover one of the points acknowledge it and agree a way to cover that point with the participant after the event.
Recap At The End Of The Day
Start with the key points identified in the item above then draw out your key learning points delivered during the day.
In Multi-Day Training Recap At The Start Of Each Day
Again, blindingly obvious, but if your participants have not stayed overnight (or if they’ve had a long night!) they will be grateful for a reminder of yesterday’s key points and the chance to raise questions on them before diving into today’s agenda.
If Participants Are Staying Over Recommend Restaurants Or Evening Activities
Encourage a short evening activity together, a meal, some drinks.
Refer To Participant’s Prior Experience
Solicit participant’s prior experience/s so that it can be used effectively during the session.
In any training class, you should use people that can be identified as experts to add credibility to the information. If you have training on a new product launch, then the engineering department that worked on the product will be perceived as being experts. If the training is on planning for retirement, then invite the companies’ retirement plan administrator to come in and speak.
If you have two important topics to cover, then consider creating two separate training classes. According to some experts, employees will only retain basic points from your training classes. It would be more efficient to focus on one major point per training session rather than trying to make multiple important points that may not be retained by your audience.
Training is more effective when you have regular sessions as opposed to sporadic ones at random times according to some experts. A regular training schedule allows employees to prepare for training and be ready to absorb the material. It also allows employees to fit a regularly scheduled training class into their routine, which makes it less stressful for them. Spread training out to weekly or monthly to avoid making training a daily routine that becomes too repetitive for employees to handle.
Offer employees the chance to see what you are talking about, rather than just hear it. If you are discussing a new marketing plan, then offer visuals on what the new material will look like. The information is more likely to stay with the employees if they can associate it with a visual.
Training needs to be interactive. At the end of each training segment, encourage employees to ask questions. Offer informative answers, and speak professionally and respectfully to each employee that asks. Leave sufficient time at the end of a presentation for final questions on the topic. For employees hesitant to ask questions with the group present, offer a time after the presentation for one-on-one question answering.
Plan your training programs so that you can present all of the information in a concise manner. Training can be something that employees take for granted, so help them absorb the material in your training classes by making it concise and to the point.
Don’t Isolate Your Participants
Introduce your participants to each other, get them to network together and create ways they can carry on their conversations after your training. Share their contact details with each other – with their permission.
Don’t Immortalise One Participant
Constantly referencing one of your participants because you happen to know they are good in an area is guaranteed to embarrass that person and alienate the rest of your audience.
With child care charges of up to £5 per minute for overtime, you’re not making friends by overrunning. Give them a gift of time – finish 10 minutes early and offer your participants the chance to join you for an informal coffee or drink or let them get away and beat the rush.
AFTER THE TRAINING
Training is an Ongoing Process
Last but certainly not least, don’t stop. The most successful companies in the world recognize the fact that training is not an event but an ongoing process. Business environments are evolving constantly, with new developments being created and existing ones enhanced. Consequently, training is an ongoing exercise without an end date.
Best practice is to provide recurring refresher courses and cross-training opportunities for existing employees and comprehensive starter training for new hires. In addition, consider including successful completion of the courses as part of an employee’s annual performance evaluation.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]