5 Ways to Turn Employee Training Into Performance

5 Ways to Turn Employee Training Into Performance

Managers and trainers can sometimes be at odds with the end goals of training for their employees.

Trainers tend to focus on designing the training experience, ensuring that a good atmosphere for learning happens, whether it occurs in a training session in an on-line environment, and providing relevant take-aways that relate to the job. Managers just want to get things done and solve problems, so they often tend to look at training as a way to do this.

The only way to effectively bridge this gap is to place the focus on performance and realize that training alone won’t do this.

Here are 5 ways to help you turn training into performance.

1. Clarify responsibility for performance & set specific performance expectations.

Realize that even having the best trainer in the world is not a management solution. And blaming the trainer for performance that doesn’t happen is likely going alienate the trainer while also not achieving what you really want.

Once employees are back on the job they will need to demonstrate the level of performance expected. And be clear with supervisors how they should reinforce this.  Decide who is going to manage it and make sure to follow up to see that it is getting done.

Take a good look at policy or operating changes or problems that might need to be fixed. Sometimes a training session may be the only forum employees have for communicating these other impacts, so pay attention to the session feedback from your trainer and make sure you ask if any issues were being raised as a concern.  Better still, be there in one of the sessions so you can hear about it first hand.

2. Engage your trainer in developing job-aids or tools

These can be used on the job as reminders and prompts. Sometimes, training is a matter of getting certain employees to change their habits.

Attending a training session or course isn’t likely to change that, because the new habits need to be reinforced and reviewed.

3. Schedule training as closely as possible to the time that skills are needed

For example scheduling respirator training and then waiting three months before the employee actually needs to use one is a waste of time.  It’s better to set up the training immediately prior to using the respirator.

That way the training is immediately reinforced by practice.  Even if a few weeks go by before the employee needs to use it again, he or she is more likely to remember what to do.

4. Avoid the temptation to turn the training session into a “Tell ‘em” session.

You’d be surprised how many managers see a training event as their opportunity to claim the agenda and dump all kinds of commands and information on their employees, especially about what employees need to do “right”.

Do this and you’ll ruin a perfectly good opportunity for your staff to really learn something. Training sessions give them a chance to discuss things, take in new ideas, and experiment with new tactics and approaches. These are the things that will really engage your employees and help them to deliver better performance.

Trainers are very skilled at knowing how long a topic needs to be worked on and what kinds of exercises and scenarios are best for learning. Let them do what they do best. Save the rest for meetings or directions.

5. Look at training alternatives that may improve your return on training.

If you have turnover and find that you’re continually retraining employees or you want to increase service, quality, productivity or improve sales revenues, implement a Learning Path for that job, as opposed to training courses or casual learning, as it will be easier to manage, ensure consistency of the training process, and bring a measurable return on your business while saving you time and costs.

It’s also a good idea to examine the reasons for turnover, if they exist, and nip those in the bud during your selection process. Every dollar spent on either of these actions will save a few more pretty quickly.

About Arupa Tesolin

Arupa Tesolin is the Managing Executive and National Practice Leader for Learning Paths International Canada, a proven learning methodology that gets employees up-to-speed 30-50% faster while reducing the time and cost of training. Arupa is a recognized learning consultant, trainer, author, and innovation speaker.

Posted in: Training

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