How to decide the training direction for your team
When did you last ask your people what training or support they need?
The best people to decide what training is needed within your organisation are your managers and employees themselves. Your team leaders are in a great position to know how their people work and what skill gaps or issues may be arising regularly. Furthermore, your employees themselves will perceive gaps in their own abilities and performance – many of us are actually very good at identifying weaknesses, but without the invitation to share these, they can be missed.
The importance of effective performance management reviews
The best place to start mapping the training directions of a team is through effective and regular performance management. This can be in informal, direct requests for feedback regarding needs, as well as a more thorough formal review process. Put simply – if you don’t ask you don’t know.
In combination, you can also assess your organisation more broadly – using anecdotal evidence, as well analysis of data to identify if there are obvious gaps in knowledge. You can ask your people to assess themselves, using a HATS assessment or identify gaps in others through a Leadership Perception Gap survey, both of which we can supply for you. Do get in touch to find out more.
You can consider areas of your business which are not running efficiently, where individual growth could increase productivity or when a more cohesive team could soon become a necessity. Also, identify any threats to your people’s ongoing development or motivation.
Tom Flatau talks about the importance of asking for feedback
Working with your HR or L&D departments to deliver the right training
We know there are many training providers and approaches to training. In many organisations, it is likely to be important to work with your Human Resources (HR) or Learning and Development (L&D) teams who can expertly help to evaluate what different departments may need, to see if shared training is a possibility.
You want to ensure that the right people get the right training to be most effective not only for the individual, but so the training filters through to benefit the whole organisation. We believe in a very organic approach to supporting your training needs – working with you to shape our training programmes around the needs of the organisation and the familiar scenarios faced.
Importantly, all of our training programmes are based upon neuroscience research. This ensures people understand how the brain works and gives them a foundation to understand how people work in the way they do; gives reasons for certain reactions to a given situation, and helps people to truly to change and adapt, with the understanding that every human has the capacity to do so. It really makes the learning stick.
An in-depth training needs analysis is a worthy investment and we will cover this in a future blog.
Time and money vs investment
There is no denying that good training costs money. The amount of time you allow for your staff to take part is an important consideration. Furthermore, you will need to take into account the training’s location, travel costs, training methods, the number of people who can do the course at once and the possible follow up or ongoing learning requirements…and that’s before you determine your desired outcomes and evaluate the longer-term effectiveness.
However, research suggests that investing in your people pays back on many levels – with a proven ROI time and again. As well as profitability, those attending our trainings (as well as their managers) report enhanced motivation, more agile thinking, increased innovation, a more positive view of the company and a better belief in career progression. There is also a direct correlation with long-term staff retention. Drawing on the last point alone, the cost of training is always much smaller (sometimes insignificant) in comparison with necessary costs associated with staff recruitment.
Which type of training is best for your organisation?
Once you have decided on the areas or topics of training necessary for your team and weighed up the amount of investment that is feasible, you can then decide which type of learning environment will be best. This may depend on many factors including availability and the learning styles of the individuals requiring the training.
The options include:
- In-person group training – this can be on site or at a separate location, where a group of individuals are trained by an experienced trainer and specialist in your chosen topic area. You may find courses which cater for many different organisations at one time (an open course) or offer bespoke training for your organisation. At TWI, we pride ourselves on offering the latter for many of our programmes, so that we can shape the content to reflect the exact circumstances and situations your people find themselves in and genuinely solve problems which are causing current difficulties.
- One-to-one coaching – it may be necessary to train individuals. This can be highly motivating and truly bespoke to the individual. Using more coaching techniques can ensure higher learning retention, as well as giving individuals space to share their concerns and to develop in areas specific to their needs and requirements.
- Online learning – this can be very effective for training a number of individuals at a time and at a location convenient to them. It can also more easily bring together individuals from different parts of your organisation, especially if you are separated globally. Online or ‘e-learning’ can be live, via webinar or video call, and done simultaneously, or pre-recorded, so that individuals can complete courses in their own time and at their own pace. This flexibility has many benefits. During the pandemic, we have found that participant interaction has increased within online programmes, as people report feeling more comfortable participating ‘virtually’. The support on online resources to follow up and reinforce the learning after webinars can also very effective for long term retention.
- Blended learning – By offering both online resources (in more than one medium – i.e. written and spoken), as well as access to a professional trainer, blended learning can be an excellent approach for training individuals with different learning styles, in different time zones and with different needs. In a blended learning approach, sessions are offered as a group and individually, as well as offering self-study opportunities, through an online learning management system. At TWI, we promote a ‘buddy system’ allowing participants to discuss sessions and learning activities outside of the formal sessions. Long-term access to the online resources, as well as follow up activities, further enhances retention.
Collective analysis works best
Like most things in business, deciding on the right training direction for your team or entire organisation can not be done alone! You need to speak to your people and evaluate the many options – this in itself is the beginning of truly investing in your people. Furthermore, don’t forget about your own training or coaching needs – consider your own personal development and how this to could help your people and your organisation grow.