Improve your training
Whether it’s training and orientation for new hires, ongoing training for all of your employees, or even product training for your clients, training programs have a lot in common and face similar pitfalls. Setting up your own program to create trainees that flourish is a valuable goal for any business. Here are some opportunities to improve your training program.
- Who’s doing the training?
The most obvious candidate to conduct your training might not always be the best one. One common practice for training new hires is to let people who are already doing the job also do the training. This approach creates a trainer with a built-in understanding of the role’s functions, and it can be tempting to trust these employees with training responsibilities. However, you must keep in mind that training for a role and performing in a role require different skillsets. Before trusting these employees with your incoming talent, ensure they have the skills appropriate for trainers in any context: excellent communication ability (speaking AND listening!), patience, and attention to detail.
If client training is your focus, it might make sense that you select an employee with an established relationship with that client to administrate the training (perhaps the employee that initially connected you with the client). The same pitfall applies here: you must ensure the employee has the chops for training. It makes sense to reap the benefits of an already trusting relationship, but if that employee is unprepared for training, you risk damaging the client’s faith in your product and the relationship that made them a client in the first place.
- Is your focus on more than skills?
There is much more to succeeding in a role than simply acquiring skills. You might be tempted to simply drill new employees with their duties and let them learn everything else as they go along. This attitude deprives new employees of an immediate role in company culture and prevents them from acquiring an instant stake in company success.
Instead, devote serious training time to integrating new hires into the company culture. Simple gestures such as tours and meet-and-greets go a long way but also don’t be afraid to assign more weighty tasks. Consider creating dedicated slots on committees for new blood to gain refreshing views from those who aren’t as ingrained in the company’s paradigm.
This attitude should extend to client training as well. No one wants to be viewed as just a source of revenue. Engage your clients with more than just product training. Create novel ways to provide them with value beyond your product and the training that goes along with it, like feedback sessions with product developers to allow their voice to be heard right at the source.
- Are you dedicating enough to training?
Training isn’t an investment that needs to be defended. Your employees quite literally determine your business’s success with their actions, and it is common knowledge that effective training leads to effective employees. However, when an employee’s tasks outside of their training responsibilities mount, training becomes an easy casualty of the time crunch. Remember, time is of the essence with new employees. Every day that their development goes on hold for other tasks tells them that their growth is not your priority, damaging their emotional investment and encouraging them to look elsewhere.
If the employees you have chosen to do your training are overburdened, consider moving training tasks to a dedicated training role. Internal trainers have the great benefits of being a part of company culture themselves and are specifically hired for their training abilities. You can also contract your training to a training consulting company. A good training consultant will take the time to learn about your company and partner with your employees to help new hires to flourish. Plus, you don’t have to pay a training consultant when there are no new hires to train.
Keep these potential hiccups in mind when you audit your own training programs, and you’ll find there are many opportunities to create a better environment for your employees and clients.