Look Before Leaping Into Staff Training. (Part 2: Tips to Maximize Training Outcomes)Posted by Kristi Miller on Jan 9, 2012 in Business Development, Communication, Customer Service, Planning, Sales, Training
Leaping into staff training before looking at other factors, things that can either ensure or impede outcomes, may result in wasted time and expense.
This is Part 2 of a series on “Tips to Maximize Training Outcomes”. In Part 1, I began with the premise that while training alone may be sufficient for technical or procedural changes, it is seldom enough to affect meaningful improvement in interpersonal skills (i.e., communication skills or people skills). I suggested three questions to consider before you decide on training in areas such as customer service, sales, business development, or supervisory skills:
- What / how are you doing currently?
- What improvements are needed / desirable?
- What obstacles (real and perceived) might impede your success?
Here are some common missteps that can lead to disappointing results:
- Outcomes and expectations are not clearly communicated to staff by management.
- Training is done for the entire staff in the hopes of correcting the performance problems of a few.
- Training is presumed to be the sole solution so no other components are considered or planned for ongoing success.
- There is no formal plan to actively manage the desired improvements after training.
- Training content, format, and style is not a good fit for what was really needed.
You can maximize results by taking some time to plan and prepare before you decide on training. Here’s a closer look at each of the three questions:
1. What / how are you doing currently?
- Is there significant overall deficiency in this area and if so, what?
- Are there specific problems in particular areas and if so, what and where?
- What value would there be in overall improvement?
- What additional information and insights would be useful in assessing what’s needed: surveys, mystery shopping, interviews, etc.?
2. What improvements are needed / desirable?
- Have you clearly defined the expected behaviors (i.e., going beyond generalities like “provide excellent customer service”).
- If specific standards have been set, have they been clearly communicated to staff, along with appropriate skill training?
- Is performance in this area being actively managed by supervisors and/or do supervisors know how to coach their staff following training?
3. What obstacles (real and perceived) might impede your success?
- What are the specific things that need attention to achieve desired outcomes following training (e.g., Lack of understanding and/or knowledge about what is expected? Lack of skills? Lack of active management? Other?)
- What things should and could be done, besides training, to help ensure success?
Further discussion and consideration of your responses to these questions will help you determine the type of training and trainer that would be a good fit for your specific needs. Tips for choosing the “right” training and trainer will be the focus of Part 3 in this series.