Tag Archives: developing people

ROI on training

In the real world

In all my years as a trainer the #1 mistake I see businesses making with their staff training is not doing enough to make an easy transition from theory to the real world, so they fail to get any ROI on training.

What takes place in the safety, and often false environment, of the training room can be very different from what happens in the big bad real world. Particularly so with any skills training which needs practice to perfect, and time to form new habits.

This can mean, not only a poor return on investment, but can also have a negative and demotivating impact on the employee.

Here are 17 ideas to make the transition easy and gain a greater ROI on training:

  1. Avoid people leaving the training session asking “what was all that about then?” Make the link to their role before the training even begins, by discussing how the training is relevant to their job.
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  2. Check understanding of key points, and ask for ideas on how they are going to implement what they have learnt.
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  3. Help the team identify situations where they can put their learning into practice as quickly as possible, preferably within hours, or at least the next day or two, and get their commitment to one or two specific actions.
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  4. Make it clear what you want to happen long term as a result of the training, and get your team’s commitment to some specific actions – with timescales and allow them time to talk through how they’re going to achieve them.
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  5. Allow a free and open dialogue to flush out anything that might be standing in the way of that, or any concerns they have which will make it difficult or even impossible for them to implement any aspects of the training.
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  6. Check they have the necessary resources, time, authority, peer support and opportunity to put it into practice. If not, ensure you get these in place before the momentum is lost.
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  7. Look for signs of uncertainly: lack of confidence or a concern they might make mistakes, unclear on which actions are their job opposed to anyone else’s, not sure how this fits in with existing processes or ways of working, etc.
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  8. Be available for individuals to ask questions on a one to one basis after training; not everyone feels comfortable raising queries in front of colleagues, and some may need a while to reflect on what’s been covered.
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  9. Schedule time for people to practise and time for you or their line manager to check how they are doing. Or assign a mentor, coach or buddy to help overcome the initial barriers to perfecting their new skill.
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  10. Provide back-up resources such as prompt cards, diagrams or checklists.
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  11. Don’t expect perfection straight away. People need time to practise and find their own way of doing things, and not be afraid to make the odd mistake so long as they learn from it.
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  12. Everything takes longer when it’s new and you’re still learning a little from trial and error. Confidence can be low as you get to grips with it all.
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  13. Don’t let potential barriers become an excuse for not putting things into practice. Follow up promptly; the longer problems are left unresolved, the less the likelihood of anyone getting to the point it becomes habit.
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  14. Observe how they handle specific situations e.g. following customer service training observe conversations with customers and give feedback afterwards: what they’re doing well, what they could do more of, and give the appropriate coaching, support and guidance on areas where they need more help.
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  15. Reinforce messages by building exercises and activities into your daily and weekly calendar, etc., as part of team briefings or meetings, 1:1 reviews and ongoing feedback.
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  16. Recognise the role line managers have in the follow up to training. What’s working well, what fresh perspectives have they brought, what needs more practice?
  17. If the training isn’t being implemented identify what’s getting in the way now, not wait until they’ve been struggling and given up hope. When something doesn’t work right first time around it’s all too easy for them to go back to their old and familiar ways.

Get people practising their new skills, systems or ways of working every day and you’ll quickly see them build confidence, develop competence and it will soon become habit, so you get an ROI on training.

The Ebbinghaus Curve of Forgetting

Planning development video



Planning Development

planning developmentPlanning Development based on strengths and stretch

Most managers think of staff training and team development to achieve one of two things:

  • to fix someone’s weaknesses
  • as a way of grooming somebody for promotion

Although both of these are relevant in their own way, they can leave you and your team wanting.

So here’s an alternative way to approach your team’s development…

Seeing strengths versus fixing faults

It’s all too easy to end up with everybody becoming a “Jack of all trades and master of none”.

Whilst it’s good to cross train your team so you make cover easy, you don’t want to end up everyone mediocre in everything, but expert in nothing.

Imagine what would happen if you were to focus on people’s strengths instead – in the same way you might expect an athlete or members of a football team to hone their skills in areas where they already perform well. You could help them go from a strong performance to real excellence in their areas of greatest ability.  How much more motivated would team members be if they could focus on what they’re best at?

Everyone has skills, it’s just that different jobs require different skills. It takes a certain type of skill to organise an hectic event, to calm down an irate customer, to clean a room to a high standard inside 25 minutes.

Often these are skills employees don’t necessarily recognise themselves, as they take these things for granted.  When you recognise these strengths it can boost confidence, and often the tasks they’re good at are those they enjoy more, so it helps to keep them engaged.

Of course, in reality we can’t always let people just do what they’re best at, but we can at least make sure that they’re not always under pressure to improve what they’re worst at! But by focusing on individuals’ strengths you can balance your team so they complement potential shortcomings in others, so you can bridge any gaps you have elsewhere.

Stagnate versus stretch

Not everyone wants to progress, but that doesn’t mean you let them stagnate.

We often think of development as grooming people for promotion. This might be one outcome or intention, but it shouldn’t stand in the way of development. Even those who you believe have reached the limits of their capability or have no desire for more responsibility shouldn’t be left to stagnate.

After all, a bored employee is unlikely to shine and even less likely to wow you or your customers!

Look for opportunities to set new challenges within people’s current responsibilities. How can you add variety or stretch them further in areas where they’re already strong?

For example:

– asking them to find ways to make efficiencies or refine a process

– giving them responsibility for training others

– allocating ownership of specific procedures

By giving individuals ownership of particular tasks you create a sense of pride and responsibility.

You’ll be amazed what people can achieve when their strengths are recognised, and they’re given the authority to apply them.

This can also take the pressure off you as that person then becomes the go to person.

Sadly, it’s often only when people leave that we miss what they bring to the team. (….could that lack of recognition be the very reason they leave?)

Here’s an exercise you can carry out with your team to recognise their strengths to take into account before development planning.

Take Action

If you only do one thing towards planning development: take a step back and identify one strength – however small – for each one of your team members, and let them know you value this.

Planning development video

Photo credit: alysha-rosly



Barriers to Development

Barriers to Development

Last week’s blog focused on the importance of team development, and I promised to continue the theme this week by sharing with you the second topic I covered on last week’s Hoteliers’ Forum, which was barriers to development.

Having made a commitment to invest in your team’s development it can be frustrating when it doesn’t pan out the way you’d hoped. So let’s explore some of the barriers to development; the things that can lead to wasted time and effort, or worse, leaving your team members feeling undervalued.

Here are just 7 barriers to development I see, but this list is by no means exhaustive.

1. Too busy

If you’ve only recently reopened or your team members have only just returned to the workplace you’re probably thinking this isn’t a priority right now. Development, either for your team or your own personal development is one of those things that’s so easy to push down the priority list. This is probably the biggest barrier to development; if nothing happens today towards it, it’s not the end of the world, But, when it gets put off time and again it could leave you in limbo.

One of the reasons this happens is because we see it as a big task. But it doesn’t have to be. The majority of development takes place on the job, so providing you have a plan there will be opportunities nearly every day. But you won’t spot these opportunities unless you know what you’re looking for!

Schedule time in your calendar right now to sit down with each of your team to discuss their development. Even if this doesn’t take place until July or August, if they know there is a date in the diary it demonstrates your commitment to their development and gives them time to think about what they want and need.

2. No goals/direction

Development activities can be haphazard and wasteful if you don’t have clear expectations and a defined goal. That goal might be small, but always ask yourself (and the employee) what’s the outcome either of you are looking for as a result of that development activity.

If you both know the outcome it’s so much easier to determine what’s needed and to measure the result.

Set some mini goals now, so everyone has something to work towards, however small, until such time as you can sit down for a more in depth discussion with each of your team to discuss their development.

3. Don’t see the relevance

Maybe you have decided something would be good for someone’s development, but unless you involve them in this decision they may not see the relevance, particularly if it doesn’t fit in with their idea of what they need.

If people fail to see the relevance, you won’t get any buy in or commitment to any of the development activities you plan for them. You won’t always need to spell it out for them, particularly if they already have a personal development plan, but sometimes you’ll need to help people see how any development activities can make their job easier, more enjoyable, support colleagues, get them one step nearer to their dream job or promotion, anything that has a positive outcome for them.

4. Expecting instant results

Sometimes you, the team member or colleagues have high expectations. Be realistic with everyone concerned as to how long it might take for someone to get to a point where they are fully competent and feel confident. It takes time to absorb new learning and takes practise, with the opportunity to ask questions and experiment.

The sooner people can put things into practice the easier the transition to the workplace.

Schedule time for, and help people spot the opportunities to practise in a safe environment, where it won’t matter if they make a mistake. Don’t expect perfection and allow more time.

5. Don’t feel trusted

When people come to put new learning into practice, they need to have the authority and freedom to do this. Nobody wants their boss or another colleague breathing down their neck!

For example, if you put someone to work alongside another team member, but that team member won’t allow that person to do anything for fear they will not do it to standard, then they will never get to learn.

If people don’t feel trusted by others they will then start to doubt their own ability. And if they are fearful of making a mistake they will be unwilling to take that risk.

6. Lack of resources

Not being able to implement learning through lack of opportunity is one thing, But not having the right resources, such as the tools for the job, or the authority can be very frustrating for all parties concerned.

The most important resource is time. Time to implement their new skill or knowledge whilst it is still fresh in their mind.

7. Little or poor support

This is probably the second biggest barrier to development. When line managers don’t have the skills to give effective feedback or to coach others this reduces the opportunity to learn on job.

If not given the right encouragement and on-going support, progress will be slow, or even take a backwards step. People need to recognise what works. And if not working, to analyse why, and importantly, how to correct.

Anyone in a position where they need to help and support others’ development should have, at the very least, basic coaching skills.

 

If you only do one thing to avoid these barriers to development: Spot when they are there!

All of these barriers are avoidable once you recognise them. Look back over the past 2 weeks and ask yourself – have any of these barriers impacted your team’s development or led to missed potential development opportunities?

Related video, Conscious incompetence