You, Just Better

‘Train people well enough that they can leave, treat them well enough that they don’t.’ The famous, but equally sensible, quote on training and development from Richard Branson.

Training and development is a funny thing. Most companies nowadays will quite rightly invest in it, but many won’t actually explain why to managers and employees. Not well enough anyway.

Who remembers being dragged into a tick-the-box training day at the start of their career that seemed a total waste of time? I’d love to see some very clear senior leadership endorsement in these cases and a lot less ‘why are we here faces’.

Less box ticking; more worthwhile development. A good plan, which works well, is to have the training and course leaders introduced via the intranet or in management meetings before any training begins to warm up employees and explain the benefits of why they are there.

If you are going to invest in training – and you absolutely should – invest in great training and tell everyone why it’s great. Why they are there. Why you are investing in them.

It’s also worthwhile making sure that there are materials to take away and that follow-up information is readily available so that people can refresh on what they learnt when they are back in the workplace.

Invest a little time in measuring how people learn. You can ask in advance, sure, but also measure retrospectively. What did they like about the online training? Did they feel that they could learn for two full days without a break? Did they like the course lead? Sometimes this may mean tailor-making a few different packages for different people but if they benefit and really get the most they can out of it; it probably makes sense.

While you are collecting data, and if you have self-serve options for training, store some on which teams are signing up for which courses and which teams aren’t signing up for any. Then take a look at their workload, morale or leaders. I’ll bet you’ll find an interesting correlation there somewhere with regard to why they aren’t investing in their development. If nothing else, your internal communications team need to be in there talking about the benefits of training.

A self-serve system is a great option and really helps towards getting employees to appreciate training and take ownership of their own development. If the options for learning are exciting enough, most engaged members of staff will feel like a kid in a sweetshop. They will also feel nurtured, engaged and invested in.

There are endless lists of statistics now that show that money isn’t the driving force for employees. They want a challenge, a career path and a purpose. Training and development can deliver that.

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