Improve the way you develop your team

Whether it’s training and orientation for new hires, how you develop your team is key.  Whether you are upskilling new or existing employees or even product training for your clients, training programs have a lot in common and face similar pitfalls. Setting up a methodology to develop your team and create trainees that flourish is a valuable goal for any business. Here are some nuanced approaches to develop your team.

1. Identifying people who will have the right impact

The most obvious candidate to develop your team might not always be the one who will have the right impact.   One common practice for training and inducting new hires is to let people who are already doing the job also oversee this. Just because that person has a built-in understanding of the role’s functions, doesn’t mean they have the right development skills to get the best out of new people.   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 appropriate skills to develop your team.  One of the basic skills is around their ability to communicate expertly.

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 right skills for training. It makes sense to reap the benefits of an already trusting relationship.  However, if that employee is unprepared for training, you risk damaging the client’s faith in your product.  You could ruin the relationship that made them a client in the first place.

2. 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 dedicated induction 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. Offer the training that goes along with it.  This could consist of feedback sessions with product developers to allow their voice to be heard right at the source.

3. Are you dedicating time to develop your team?

Training isn’t an investment that needs to be defended. Your employees quite literally determine your business’s success with their actions.  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.  This damages their emotional investment and could very well encourage them to look elsewhere.

If the employees you have chosen to develop your team are overburdened, consider moving training tasks to a dedicated training role. Internal trainers have the great benefits of being a part of the company culture themselves. Also, they are specifically hired for their training abilities. You might also wish to consider contracting 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 evaluate how you develop your team, and you’ll find there are many opportunities to create a better environment for your employees and clients.

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I have spent over a decade helping trainees and established employees flourish in the QSR, Retail, and Tech industries. My goal in any context is to help people grow into active contributors to both the bottom line and healthy culture.