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Make staff training pay off

Hold participants accountable for what they learn

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in Office Management

Just because you send your staff to training courses doesn’t mean they’ll instantly be smarter and ready to double their productivity. But if you show interest in their learning curve, they may try harder to put new tools to work.

The best training does not occur in a vacuum. Participants must connect what they learn in a classroom with their daily work activities.

Playing an active role in the ongoing learning process can help once the formal training ends. Here’s how:

Test the students. People remember more of what they’re taught if they know that they’ll be evaluated on what they retain. This doesn’t mean you have to give a written exam, although some managers may prefer this approach. A less formal technique is to have your staff explain what they learned and how it applies to their jobs. Pose fact-finding questions to gauge how much they benefited from the training. Warn them ahead of time that you’ll be holding these “debriefing sessions” as a way to assess their ability to pay attention and remember what they learn.

Use public commitments. At your next staff meeting, go around the room and have each individual commit to applying at least one learning point from their training session to their job. Ask them to propose a timetable or present a quantitative goal to which they will hold themselves.

Ask for written action plans. Have each employee who attended the training program submit a one-page memo that lists the three most important points they learned and how they intend to integrate this knowledge into their daily work.

Run checkups. Make a note on your calendar to do a progress report one or two months after the training is over. Bring the group together for a follow-up meeting and remind them of key elements of the session.

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