Many companies find themselves wondering where they can make changes to improve efficiency. Some understand that training has a huge impact on efficiency. The best understand that a confident and knowledgeable team can play a great role in streamlining processes and eliminating redundancies. Companies will get team members in a room to view a PowerPoint presentation, spend an hour going over a process and then send the employee back to their seats, expecting results. Then, they get increasingly frustrated to find that it may have had less of an impact than expected. Training and development take work, but not always in ways we expect.
Think about the training of skilled athletes and Olympians—the involvement and engagement. These individuals find success because they are actively involved in each step of their training, from identifying their potential roadblocks and shortcomings to reviewing errors that may have kept them from achieving goals. They are allowed to be active rather than passive. Famous running coach, Jack Daniels, has written detailed novels on the art of becoming an Olympic-level runner that involves—you guessed it—engagement. He stresses the importance of being involved, to practice-practice-practice, and allow trainees to be an integral part of their own development.
What does this mean for those of us who have zero intentions of buying a pair of running shoes and sweating in the 100-degree heat? More importantly, what does this have to do with talent development? It means that we remove the passiveness that can live hand-in-hand with training and development. We spend less time lecturing with content filled slides, and more time having a conversation. Ask open ended questions and use real world examples. Allow opportunities for hands-on work. Spend less time driving and allow learners to take the wheel with helpful direction.
A solid way to approach development on a new process or procedure is by adapting a 70/30 method: Spend 30% percent of your time explaining the how-to’s and why’s of a process, and 70 percent allowing your employees to engage with your guiding hand. Then finally, follow-up. If you are not following up to check progress and fill gaps, you are losing a great opportunity to solidify what they have learned and remove more of the ominous DOUBT AND WORRY.
Keep employees engaged when they are learning, and you’ll be more likely to make your info stick.
Just like no person slips on a pair of shoes and runs a record marathon, no person should be expected to learn something new on a first attempt. That can be difficult to come to terms with when you have a tight deadline and a stack of work in front of you a mile high. It is, however, realistic. When you encourage your team through both victory and defeat, they come out on the other side of a process with a stronger understanding, and coincidentally, more trust in your guidance. They are more likely to try new processes and procedures and engage because they trust in you. Without encouragement, it is far too easy to give up on learning.
Evaluation is a challenge. It can be hard to build something, watch it get put in place and be successful, just to pick it apart and rebuild it. That’s why so many training structures stick around much longer than their relevance. But just as businesses must grow and develop, so must training and development. Once a program is put in place, look for areas that need reevaluated. Is there a specific topic that you are finding to be less successful than others? What changes can be made to make thing more engaging? Is it a matter of breaking the content into smaller digestible pieces or perhaps finding new approaches to delivery?
Consider these three tips when rolling out the next change within your company. Engage, Encourage and Evolve to take your training to the next level.
Jackie is an Atlantic, IA native with a passion for growth and self-development. She began working for TS Bank in 2011 while she finished a secondary education degree, and help build the Talent Development department in 2015. She finds her joy teaching and building learning plans in even the most unconventional classrooms, such as board rooms and web conferences. Raymond has made it a mission to give back to the communities and programs that helped her greatly in her youth, so she has devoted many hours to various services in the SW IA area, such as the MICAH House, Junior Achievement, and Midlands Humane Society.