Let’s face it, training does not come cheap to any organisation. There are the costs involved in designing or purchasing training; costs involved in running it; the cost of employees being removed from their everyday tasks in the business …. the list goes on. So, you will of course expect a return on this significant investment and a positive impact on your bottom line. Sadly, for a number of reasons, this is not always the case.
Best practices to maximise the impact of your training programmes
At Outsourcing HR, we believe that training – when well designed and executed – is invaluable to any business. To help you get maximum benefit from your investment in training and boost your bottom line, we’ve put together this list of best practices:
- Everyone learns in a different way, so pick your methods to suit individuals where possible or combine them to ensure there will be something for everyone. Make sure that visual, auditory, kinaesthetic and tactile learning styles are adequately catered for.
- Ensure that the skills being taught are relevant to the individual’s work and everyday life. This will help make sure the learning endures.
- Ensure that classroom-based training is carried out in small groups so that it becomes more personal and highly tailored.
- Ensure that the learners understand what they have been taught so they can practice it later.
- Use short bursts of training rather than exhausting full-day courses so that everyone remains engaged and willing to learn. Lunch times of one-hour are good because people return refreshed and raring to go.
- Reinforce your message by repeating it often and making it prominent.
- Be consistent with your message; don’t change it, and be as clear in your training session as possible.
- Motivate your learners so they are totally on-board with your training. Rewards in and out of the training environment will help.
- Give the learners the confidence to speak. This will start a two-way process from which far more leaning will take place.
- Provide professional support for the leaner to help them develop.
- Provide constructive feedback. If this is taken on board, the learning will stick.
- Provide opportunities for ample practice of what has been learnt, preferably in situations that are the most realistic to help cement the learning.
- Ensure practice sessions are built into the training programme using a variety of techniques, such as getting learners to teach each other, playing games with the information, getting volunteers to demonstrate the information so that others can learn from that and from the feedback given, etc.
- Managers must integrate the learning points into everyday work and behaviours. This involves supporting, encouraging and shaping desired behaviour changes over time to ensure engagement and not just compliance with the subject.
- Ensure the new behaviours or skills are repeated daily in various situations so that they stick and become second nature.
- Management should interact with learners by having short discussions with them – three-minute is ample – as they walk around the business. These 1:1 discussions demonstrate interest and provide the leaner with feedback on how they are doing, helping to confirm they have transferred or are transferring the learning into their everyday practice.
- Managers should discuss progress, achievements and action plans at regular team meetings to keep the lessons alive and help them to become embedded.
- Managers should also ensure that their follow-up on the learning is always helpful, encouraging, positive and ongoing.
- If there are obstacles impeding progress with the learning, you will need to brainstorm and discuss ways of overcoming these obstacles.
- Have a follow-up session a few months after the training to assess progress, discuss problems and find solutions. If this is not practical, send out questionnaires for the participants to complete. Collect these, compile the results and distribute them to the participants with potential solutions to any challenges raised.
This is a long list, but many of the areas mentioned reinforce each other. Indeed, many are simply good management practices, which, when integrated into everyday management focus and practice will only reap rewards for every area of your business.
So, here’s to productive learning and development that brings real value to your people and your business through effective management.
Contact Outsourcing HR for help with your learning and development activities
We can help make sure your training programmes are effective and focused on the areas that will have most impact on your business performance. For a no-obligation discussion, simply call 07894-546333 or email Margaret Keane.