Evan Hackel

By Evan Hackel

Keys to Effective Training

Keys to Effective Training 150 150 Evan Hackel

Let’s take a look at two professional trainers. For this article, let’s call them Joan and Jack.

Both Jack and Joan are energetic trainers who get their audiences laughing quickly. They will both do whatever it takes – using props or quacking or asking trainees to do silly things – to illustrate a concept or get their trainees excited and engaged. And when trainees leave at the end of the training day, they feel energized, happy and ready to take on new challenges.

But there are significant differences between the results that Joan and Jack achieve. A few weeks after training is over, the performance of the people who trained with Joan has improved dramatically and measurably. The performance of the people who trained with Jack? Well, it hasn’t improved much at all. Most of them quickly went back to “business as usual.”

In other words, Jack’s training is edutainment. Joan’s isn’t, because it gets results. And that is true, even though someone who peeked into either of their training rooms wouldn’t notice much difference.

How Can You Avoid Wasting Money on Frivolous Training?

The first step is understanding that although good training is often entertaining, it is not entertainment. In other words, training is supposed to achieve demonstrable results, not just make people laugh or enjoy themselves or kick back and enjoy a day out of the office or away from the selling floor.

I call the wrong kind of training edutainment. It’s entertaining, it does well on the “smile sheet.” but doesn’t actually have long impactful results.

How can you make sure that your training is hitting the right targets? Here are some steps that can help assure that you are getting a good ROI on every training dollar you spend, because your trainers and your training are hitting the right goals:

1. Think of training as a strong combination of education, engagement and usefulness. Training must educate by teaching skills, transferring knowledge, cultivating attitudes and hitting other specific targets. Yet training that is purely educational doesn’t get results. That is why training must present information in ways that are engaging, interactive and require the learner to think and use the information learned.

2. Apply the VAK Attack model to increase learning. VAK stands for the three ways that people learn, and your live training should make use of all three. Visual learning happens when people watch materials that can include videos, PowerPoints, charts and other visual elements. Auditory learning happens when people learn by listening to people who might be other trainees, compelling trainers, visitors and others. And kinesthetic learning happens when people get out of their seats and move around as they take part in work simulations, games, and other meaningful exercises.

3. If you’re hiring an outside trainer, speak with other organizations where he or she has worked. When you do, ask for specifics about what the training accomplished. Did average sales orders increase by a certain percentage? Did customers report measurably higher levels of satisfaction when they were polled? Did thefts and losses decrease by a certain significant percentage when training was completed? Remember to look for hard data about results. Statements like “We loved Paul’s training!” might be nice, but they don’t tell you much about whether Paul’s training was worth the money it cost.

4. Define outcomes and make sure your trainer can reach them. Do you want your salespeople to contact 25% more new prospects? Do you want the people who deliver and install appliances for your store to give true “white glove” treatment to customers? Or do you want your hotel front-desk staff to delight guests with exceptional service?  Your trainer should explain his or her plans to break those processes down into individual steps and address them directly through training.

5. Help your trainer know who your trainees are. A good trainer will want to know about their ages, prior experience, educational level, current jobs, and all other factors that can be leveraged to engage them more fully in training.  A concerned trainer will also want to be aware of any factors that might cause them not to engage.

6. Let your employees tell you what they need to learn during training. Your salespeople know the biggest challenges they face on the retail floor every day. Your service technicians know the glitches that arise most often when they are interacting with customers. Why sit back and hope that your training developers will guess or already know what those issues are and address them in training? It is less haphazard to ask your employee what they most need to learn in training, then make sure those topics are covered.

7. Work with your trainer to develop meaningful metrics. If you work together to define what you will measure after training is completed, chances are good that your training will accomplish much more, because its goals are well defined.

8. Monitor sessions and make sure that training stays on track. If you are a company training director or a member of senior management, you might not want to attend sessions, because your presence could put a damper on trainees’ ability to relax and learn. If that is the case, ask a few trainees to check in with you at lunchtime or other breakpoints to tell you whether the trainer is hitting the benchmarks you created. If not, a quick check-in with the trainer can often get things back on track and avoid wasting time and money.

The Special Challenges of Training within Franchise Systems

The structure of franchise systems makes it even more difficult to deliver effective training, especially to front-line retail and service employees who work at the franchisee level – in other words, the people who are doing the work. Delivering training to them becomes a two-part process because it is first necessary to train the franchisees, who must then train their employees.

Strategic use of e-learning technologies can go a long way toward simplifying and optimizing that process. In fact, that is why Tortal Training was created: to create effective training at low cost via e-learning to franchisors to offer franchisees.

It’s All About Getting Your Money’s Worth and Getting Results

If you are a training director who wants to record serious results from serious training, it’s important to work closely with professional trainers who don’t only entertain, but educate.  That’s the difference between training that’s frivolous and training that offers a good ROI on your investment.

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