Maybe you are feeling like your organization’s training practices are a little old and maybe tired. Time to revisit and breathe some new life into them! Follow these training best practices to become a superstar, ensuring that your training initiatives directly contribute to your company’s strategic goals.
Great training programs are strategy driven
Work backwards from the big picture, both in planning your training and when delivering it.
Take a look at how leadership is currently defining organizational success, and then build your training strategy in service of those larger goals.
When it comes time to execute your training, as Sheri Weaver explains, “Start with the ‘why’ and explain expectations from a high level, gradually bringing it down to a personal level for the greatest context.”
Drive your team forward with training that is engineered from the outset to move the needle on key measures of success.
Formal training makes a difference
This seems sort of obvious on a list of training best practices, but you may be surprised to hear that not all organizations do it!
Researchers Delery and Doty identified seven best practices that are related to overall organizational performance, and formal training systems are high on the list.
Be sure you are providing official training opportunities for employees rather than depending on employee selection and social processes to obtain required skills.
Embrace learning as a continuous process
As humans, we are hard-wired to act, reflect, and learn continuously. Our brains are meaning-making machines.
As an organization, you can leverage continuous improvement in order to help employees gain new skills and remain effective in your workforce. Use a range of techniques to foster ongoing learning, including:
- Always-on access to online training resources
- A mentoring program
- A steady stream of seminars, brown bag lunches, webinars and other live training events
- Shadowing, rotations or other on-the-job opportunities to learn from peers
- Individual employee training plans that encourage employees to take ownership of their professional development
Crystal clear expectations
Make sure that all people involved are very clear about the desired outcomes for each training opportunity. What are trainees expected to be able to DO by the end? And how can you best help them learn that?
This is the starting point for any training preparation. And it means resisting the temptation to explain everything. Don’t expect participants to be anything other than learners.
The importance of practice and mistakes
One of the cornerstones of successful adult learning is to provide practice opportunities in safe environments where learners can gain experience and learn from mistakes.
Sheri Weaver, the Training and Quality Assurance expert mentioned earlier, shares this chart illustrating the important of practice for long term retention:
|Told||Told and Shown||Told, Shown, and Experienced|
|Recall after 3 wks||70%||72%||85%|
|Recall after 3 mo||10%||32%||65%|
Successful training is more than just "telling." It includes hands-on learning as often as possible. And that's our hard-won advice on using training best practices to contribute to organizational success.