Spending money on training can be a significant business investment.
But in too many cases, training is forgotten because trainees are not given the chance to test out their newly acquired skills once they’re back in the workplace.
Nick Lawson-Williams, is a Portfolio HR Director at People Puzzles who has delivered countless training workshops and coaching sessions to businesses over the years.
“If I’m drafted in to provide management training to a business, I’ll spend time with the management team to understand what the need is and then I’ll deliver training sessions. There can be though, a missing link.”
Bringing the training back to the workplace
The missing link that Nick refers to is the fact that staff aren’t necessarily encouraged to put back what they’ve learned into their everyday activities by their manager.
“It’s almost as though people are expected to know how to implement their learning without support or guidance.”
Nick goes on to suggest three key tips to making the most of staff training.
1. Management buy-in
Part of the problem is that often, managers are not aware of what the training entails because they haven’t done it themselves. Nick finds training is far more successful if managers also attend. ‘That way, the directors get to see what their managers are being exposed to, and are then able to help their staff put their learning into practice,’ he says.
If they don’t have time to go through the entire programme themselves, Nick advises that directors spend time with the trainer beforehand. ‘I can show what we’ll cover in the sessions, give some pointers as to how people might implement their skills, look at questions to ask or things that can be done to inspect that they are using what they’ve learned,’ he says.
This approach can also manage expectations of what the training can deliver. ‘Sometimes people see training as magically acquiring knowledge,’ says Nick. ‘But unless they’re encouraged to put it into practice when they’re back in the workplace, it won’t be fully embedded. They have to actively go out of their way to do it, and that’s where they need support.’
2. Providing support
In many cases, Nick says, it’s impossible to bring your training back to the workplace without that support. “Last year I did quite a lot of workshops on how to become more assertive,” he says, by way of example.
“But it’s hard to measure your own assertiveness. I would need to discuss with my manager where I feel I sit in terms of assertiveness, and work with them to put the learned skills and techniques back into my everyday activities; practising being more assertive. I couldn’t do that on my own.”
3. Start embedding asap
That support needs to start straight after the training if you want to embed the learning. “Ideally within the first few days,” Nick advises. “With every minute that goes by, the knowledge you’ve acquired is going to slip away.”
Nick believes the best way to do this is to simply ask staff how they’ll make use of their training, and where they’ll need support. “Having those conversations and thinking about practical ways to implement stuff is fantastic – but in so many cases, is lacking,” he says.
“It’s not necessarily down to poor intentions, it’s often because they’re very busy, time goes by quickly and they realise six months down the line, what was that stuff about assertiveness? But by then they’ve lost the learning.”
With this additional manager support to embed learning, Nick sees vastly improved results. “It’s always rewarding to witness a tangible improvement; when people have more confidence, are more assertive and better at doing their job,” he says.
“Training is an investment; by putting in a little more effort into embedding the learning, you can make sure it’s a sound one.”
Nick Lawson-Williams, People Director.
Find out more about the training that People Puzzles can offer your business to help develop your People Plan, contact us or call us to discuss your needs on 0808 164 5826.