When you became a manager, there's a good chance that you didn't realize that providing employee training would become a major portion of your job. However, it's a fact that teaching is an essential function of every managerial job. When you're in charge of managing and motivating other workers - no matter how small or large your team may be - training is something that you're going to have to do on a regular basis.
Providing training to employees is a very specific skill, and it's one that many managers don't realize they need to have. Sharing information and teaching people how to perform tasks are two very different things. When you are providing training to team members, you have to focus on conveying information to them in a manner that is motivating and that will enable them to truly understand what you are saying so they will be able to transfer that knowledge to on-the-job performance.
3 tips to Effective Employee Training
1. Recognize Your Training Responsibilities
Too many mangers think that employee training is "someone else's job". Even if your company has someone in charge of training, those who hold supervisory roles bear responsibility when it comes to employee training and development. If you want to lead a peak performing team, you must be prepared to coach and train your team members to excel.
Managers at every organizational level are responsible for making sure that the employees on their teams have the skills needed to perform the work required. Accomplishing this managerial duty involves providing effective training to team members about company polices and procedures and industry standards, as well as recognizing the need for skill-based training and making sure that it is available to employees who need it.
2. Engage in Ongoing Employee Skill Development
Managerial training responsibilities extend far beyond simply going over work procedures and sending employees to classes when they need to master a new skill. Effective workforce training is an ongoing process that requires supervisors to engage in ongoing skill development with their employees. Managers must engage in informal training needs assessment on an ongoing basis, paying attention to employees' strengths and weaknesses and identifying gaps that can be overcome through training opportunities.
Too often, supervisors feel that once information has been covered with employees, then training has occurred. However, the fact that an employee sits through an orientation or training session doesn't really mean that he or she has sufficiently mastered the knowledge or skills he or she needs. Supervisors must take proactive steps to allow employees to demonstrate mastery of training objectives, to offer feedback, coaching, and mentoring and to make additional skill development activities available as needed.
3. Convey "What's in It" for the Trainees
In order for employee training to be successful, trainees must know up front how any educational activity they are asked to participate in is relevant to them. When a training program is announced, be sure to specify what employees are likely to get from participating and reinforce that message with consistency throughout the training. Skilled trainers know that helping employees see "what is in it for them" is essential to success.
Avoid conveying the idea that employees must pay attention to the training because it's important to the company or the supervisor. Employees who participate in training because they have to do so aren't likely to retain or transfer what is covered. Those who see how mastering new skills can benefit them in their jobs are much more likely to be engaged in the learning process and actually apply what they learn on the job.
Employee Training is Part of Your Job
These basic skills can help supervisors begin to feel comfortable fulfilling the training role of their jobs, along with all of the other roles that managers must play on a daily basis. The next step will be to start developing the skills necessary to effectively develop and deliver employee training in all types of settings, ranging from one-on-one instruction to department or company wide meetings and classes.
By Mary Gormandy White
Mary G. White, M.A., SPHR is the Training Coordinator for Mobile Technical Institute & MTI Business Solutions