Things have really got back into focus after the Christmas festivities this week. HR Managers and business leaders are focusing on what is needed before the end of the financial year, and the longer term plans for the rest of 2017 and going into 2018. All great news.
This week has been a great reminder of just how impactful training can be. Very often there is a cynical view that training is a “day out of the office” and invariably there is a lack of follow up by either staff, managers or indeed providers, to embed the learning. Without these elements, it is a waste of time, money and effort.
Preparation is key by trainers and those commissioning the work:
A review meeting with a client this week highlighted how much they appreciated our trainer really understanding the demands of their business and how this can impact on an hourly basis, to their time management. The trainer talking their language and adapting suggestions and solutions around their need to respond to emergency situations was both recognised and appreciated by the delegates who didn’t receive a standard course.
A delegate on the Grips Management programme had raised on their initial briefing document that they had trouble with an older member of staff challenging their authority. During the practical module on dealing with performance, the trainer had specifically briefed the actor on this scenario so when she undertook the role play, it was as realistic as possible. Her reaction at the end? “Oh my word, that is exactly what I’m facing in my job at the moment”. The feedback from trainer and other delegates enabled her to take away lots of techniques. “I know now what I need to do to address this and handle it – that was brilliant”!
It doesn’t stop in the training room
A day or even an hour out of the office attending a session will not change the way people react or behave. Very often delegates leave a course all fired up, get back to work and life gets in the way of all those good intentions – we’ve all been there! Asking attendees to commit to what they are going to implement or change is great – but remember all those new year resolutions we made? How many of us have been held to account for not keeping to them! Making a pledge to change is one thing, doing it is another.
This is where managers come in – for them to incorporate what their staff have decided to work on as part of regular reviews keeps the momentum going. Some of the commitments this week include (from those who attended Excel training, Management training, managing sickness and team leadership):-
- Be brave and voice ideas to management
- Save time producing data analysis
- Make use of formulas
- Do return to work as soon as employee comes back from sickness
- Refresh my knowledge of policy and ensure all my staff are aware of their responsibilities
- Use 1:1s more
- Have a plan in place and start the meeting calm
- Tweek our appraisal layout – more input from staff
- Find out why our staff don’t rate themselves in our appraisals
One client has changed their competency framework after working with the trainer which has empowered their staff to outline their achievements and objectives in a more considered fashion. Previously staff failed to engage and were demoralised that their efforts appeared to go unnoticed.
Reviewing a day of mental health training delivered before Christmas, the client was really impressed with the knowledge and passion of the trainer, but more importantly their ability to advise and guide the staff on areas they were unsure about, and to confirm that much of what they were doing was spot on. They took away a lot of new ideas, but their confidence was boosted about just what they were getting right.
Partnership and collaboration from all parties
We love that our trainers are passionate about their subjects; share their knowledge and expertise so readily and receive top marks from delegates. But as a commissioning manager/business owner, you probably expect that level of expertise is a given from your provider of choice.
For all the elements to come together, you have to work in partnership and collaborate.
Providers – need to really understand the needs and demands of the business and tailor the content and training to each individual training session. Knowledge, approachability, and a willingness to push delegates, all provides engagement and enthusiasm. Ongoing support and review is essential to ensure the best ROI for clients
Commissioning staff – need to really understand what it is the delegates need and provide the trainer with as much relevant information about the organisation and the issues as possible. The trainer speaking your company “language” goes a long way to getting buy in from your staff.
Delegates – need to embrace their opportunity to develop and learn from the training. They need to commit to making changes, and be ready to be held to account for their action plans.
Managers – need to recognise their support is needed by the delegates both before and after the training in order for an impact to be seen. Training is not a panacea for a manager who doesn’t want to deal with a member of staff. However, building on the learning empowers managers and team members, and is a valuable tool in the arsenal of staff development.
The work, feedback and reviews from the last 5 days has reminded and re-enforced for us all at Athelbrae why we love working with organisations and delegates on their development. It’s a very privileged position to be allowed to work with clients and their most precious resource – their staff.