You probably agree with the statement “Time is money.” Yet many times when it comes to our people we waste time AND money by shortchanging their training. A manager once said to me “We don’t have time to train!” I took this discussion as an opportunity to help the manager see that training our people is a critical investment we must make to SAVE time and money.
Common sense tells us that well-trained employees make fewer mistakes. Think about what a mistake can cost your company in time and money. The answer could be millions. You could also lose good customers and good customers are hard to find these days.
Here are five steps you can take to make sure your people are well trained:
- Pick the right trainer(s). Trainers need to know the job well and they must also be able to communicate their knowledge in a way that others feel comfortable with. Having a positive attitude, self-confidence, and a willingness to help others are all qualities of a great trainer. Sometimes it works well to split the training up between multiple trainers. This way the “trainee” gets to know several team members during the training.
- Put together a training plan. List the tasks out on paper or an Excel spreadsheet so it’s clear what will be accomplished, how it will be accomplished, and what training material or equipment will be needed. Like any good goal, the training plan should indicate a time frame.
- Present the training. Let the trainee know what they will learn and why. Most people need to know “why” to help them understand. Present the material by giving an overview and then explain each step of the process. Demonstrate and then let the trainee perform the work themselves. Encourage the trainee along the way. Let them know it’s okay to make some mistakes at first. Once the person is comfortable and performing well, let them work independently.
- Follow-up with the trainee. People like to know how they are doing so it’s important to give them feedback. Encourage questions and let the trainee know they have on-going support available.
- Evaluate the training. The focus so far has been on the trainee’s progress. What about the training itself and the trainer? Always get feedback on the training experience and evaluate if changes should be made. Training is an art that can always be improved for the next time.
Remember a well trained employee will SAVE your company time and money. They will also make a great trainer for your next new team member!