Think you can’t train effectively? Follow these 12 steps and see how easy it can be.
In business, the difference between success and failure these days is often measured by how well you train your workers.
The reasons are understandable. Changing technology constantly creates new skills to master. Competition forces us to hone employee performance to a razor’s edge. And in areas such as harassment, safety, and some ethical issues, training is not only nice to do, it’s the law.
Of course, the law doesn’t give you any help in knowing how to train. Especially to those who’ve never or seldom done it, that can be a frightening proposition. Facing a sea of expectant (and sometimes reluctant) employee faces, all waiting on your wisdom while they count the minutes to lunch, is not something most HR managers relish. However there are ways to make training both easier and more effective.
In fact, there are 12 such ways, outlined in the BLR book, Building the Best Training Program: Your One Stop Learning Resource. Here is a bare-bones summary of the book’s “12-Step Method for Successful Training.” (The book goes into the process more deeply.)
- Introduce your session with an overview of what you will cover.
- Go through the information with a thorough explanation of the main points. Explain any policies and demonstrate any procedures.
- Conclude with a summary of what you said you’d teach in your opening.
- If using multimedia, tell trainees what they’re going to see before you show it. This keys the trainees in on what to look for and remember.
- Bring all the employees’ senses into play to help them learn. Don’t stop at what they can hear. Also present elements to see and even touch.
- Test frequently. And tell workers you’re going to test. It’s a sure way to get their attention and to find out if the lessons are sinking in.
- Involve trainees by tapping into their own experiences. Longtime employees, for example, likely have a lot to teach those less experienced. Hearing a number of speakers also breaks up the monotony of a single voice droning on.
- Repeat your questions as you go. This makes sure everyone is on the same page when the answer is finally given.
- When something “clicks” with your audience, build it into your presentation from then on.
- Keep the sessions on time and on track. Don’t wait to start for workers who are late. And keep the discussion to the subject at hand; side discussions may be possible subjects for a separate training session.
- Give frequent breaks, especially in half-day or longer sessions.
- Ask for feedback, and keep it anonymous. Then put it to use in making your next training session better.
We especially like Building the Best Training Program because it includes the nuts and bolts of training, but does not stop there. The book also recognizes that training is an overall business process that requires planning beforehand and evaluation afterward, just like any other operation.
Helps Decide if Training is the Answer and Criteria for Evaluation
To meet this need, Building the Best Training Program shows you how to create a training plan, and includes criteria for deciding whether or not training is the answer to your performance issues, and if it is, whether you’d do better outsourcing the project.
What’s more, the book also includes two evaluation models, one based on training expert Dennis Kirkpatrick’s “Four-Level Model of Evaluation” and the other a strictly financial formula for figuring ROI on your training investment. Add in forms, checklists, evaluation sheets and lesson plans, for under $60 (there’s also a lower-priced download version), and Building The Best Training Program could also be known as “building the best value training program.” If you train at all, or plan to train, this one is definitely worth considering.