Make the most of your training time and money by whipping your team into a state of joyful anticipation before it begins!
Less than 10% of an ordinary training program actually transfers to the workplace. Doing a little more to leverage your investment and increase your ROI can boost that number significantly. Give your team a little before the program begins, so they are hungry to learn when they’re in the room. Here is how.
1. Tell them why they are going
I remember going to a very expensive two-day communication skills program when I had a “real job” in a consulting firm. I loved the content. It was soft skills: what I do for a living now, all about how to communicate more effectively, how to use your neurology to the best of its ability, how to think, write and speak clearly. I was bored to tears. For the rest of the group the information was brand-new and mind-altering. I’d heard it before. At the end of the first day I spoke with the trainer. She very wisely suggested that I ask my manager why he sent me there. The answer was there was budget and he thought I would enjoy it. (Close, but no cigar!).
Make it clear if someone is going to a course for professional development:
- in the current role
- in a future role
- to acquire a particular skill
- because their role is changing
- because you expect something
- just for fun.
Don’t expect that they’ll work it out. They probably won’t. The clearer they are about why they are there the more likely it is that they will get value from this training.
Tell them what are they doing now and what would you expect to them to do differently after the training. Tell them you will set it up to catch them doing it right. Perhaps you expect:
2. Tell them what difference you expect to see, hear or feel
- A difference in a particular KPI (errors, compliance with a new procedure).
- A change in attitude (more customer focus, more awareness of company culture, more confidence)
- Something different (structure a presentation better, make their emails shorter, answer the phone a certain way)
The more precise you are the more you’ll be able to pinpoint improvement. And by the way, if you’re not expecting a difference, why are they going at all?
3. Start them early, make them look smart
Nothing like making them feel they know it all to make them comfortable and eager to learn. The more often people see, hear or experience information, the easier it is for them to digest it. Ask the trainer for some preview information. They could send videos, quotes, links to articles, quizzes, surveys, pre-needs analyses, surveys. Whatever you can expose the team members to before the training, the better your results will be.
4. Get them to identify the need
It’s even more exciting if you can get them to identify their need. You may need to guide them with targeted questions, to make sure you don’t end up with everyone wanting a mentor (that’s the flavour of the month right now). Some will tell you they need nothing. Some won’t.
Design a survey that chunks down their needs into small enough pieces that you get useful information. Or design a pre-test to show them how they did before and then after the training. Something to show progress, identify their gaps and make it their idea to tune in.
Training is not an exact science. But it is a science. Studies have shown the more people pay attention, the more they feel the information is important, the greater their need for it, the more they will learn, more quickly.
Please check out my other articles, especially:
- Six ways to muck up training your data science teams
- Seven tips on presenting your case
- Self-Promoting for ethical people
- Are you smart enough to read this: the purpose of small talk
Set your team up for success today!