The Rosner Group

Making Training Work

Recently a colleague of mine called, her frustration spilling over the phone. She had just come from a situation in which she was training a group of supervisors in communication skills.

When she arrived at the conference room, trainees straggled in, saying, "I just found out I was supposed to be here," and "What is this all about anyway?"

It was an uphill battle for the trainer, but she managed to make some important points - not the lease of which was the value of two-way communications.

Unfortunately, such situations are not rare. In order for training to have an impact on the organization, it must be viewed as important by both the manager and the trainee.

Here are some tips on how to make training stick from each of these people's point of view.

The Manager

Before sending your people off to training programs, it's important to find out the skills they need to do their jobs better and/or move along a career path they see for themselves.

When the decision for training is made jointly, you'll find that there is greater willingness and openness to learning on the trainee's part.

The fact that you think the training is important means your employees will be more likely to look at the training as part of their jobs.

Very soon after the training takes place, you'll find it helpful to have a post-training session with participating staff members to find out whether their needs were met and, if so, what they took away from the session and can implement on the job.

In fact, if it's clear in the before-training interview what the trainee's expectations are, it's more likely they will be met in the session. And if you monitor the new behavior and reward the employee for using it, the training will really stick!

Another way you can help make the training work is to spread it among other staff or department members.

If the person who has received the training makes a report to the whole department about what he or she gained, other members of the team can profit by using the new skills.

Moreover, your meeting with the trainer after the program will also prove fruitful. Usually, the trainer has heard a good deal of information from participants in the program that will be helpful to you as a manager.

The Trainee

On the other hand, if you're the trainee in this situation and your manager has done everything he or she can do to make the training work, it's really up to you to decide to put the skills just learned into practice. It helps to start with small changes and ones you think you will be most successful at making.

Setting a nearly impossible goal will only frustrate you and leave you feeling low. Instead, set yourself up for success.

And when you are successful, pat yourself on the back or reward yourself in some way, and then begin the next step.

Reprinted with permission from Inside Business by Judith Rosner

<< Back to Articles