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Step 8 – Get your staff all of the training it needs


Before anyone can do anything, they need to know how to do it.  When surveying employees for what they would like and need, training is the most requested item, besides of course, more money.  Everyone wants to be trained whether they are new and just starting, or are a seasoned pro who wants to get even better.  Proper training and support for all levels of work produce better and more productive employees.  You will find that the cost of training is met quickly with lower turnover and higher productivity.  You should periodically ask each employee, while you make your rounds, on what training they would like to receive. 

You want training done by experts who understands, and can clearly explain, the subject matter.  This could be someone in your department or an outside resource.  The point is to truly make the training count.  It is a total waste of time if you train just for trainings sake.  No one will get anything from it.  It might not even apply to the real training need.  Training needs to relate to what your employees do on the job. 

Here are 20 training ideas that could pertain to your department:

  1. Work with one of your most knowledgeable employees to develop a training process and procedure manual.  You would want to document everything from beginning to end.  Using customer service as an example, it would start off with how to answer a call and exactly what to say, how and what information should be documented into the order or ticketing system, how to look up all pricing and billing info, etc.  This should be printed and put into a binder.  You should also meet with your staff and go through the manual to make sure everyone fully understands the process, flow charts, etc.  Whenever there are any major updates, make sure you modify the process.  If it starts to become outdated, no one will use it when new products are released or procedures are modified. 
  2. Set up weekly training sessions for the supervisor or lead to go over training issues that popped up during the week with their staff.  For example, people might be using the wrong codes, there is not enough documentation in the trouble case, orders are incorrect, etc.
  3. Find online training programs such as technical schools that your staff can take.  Put aside some time during the day or even pay overtime for after hours study at home.
  4. Have a “Lunch and Learn.”  Provide lunch for the staff in a training or conference room, and train while they are eating.  It’s a win/win situation as the employee gets a free lunch and you get the opportunity to go over some training issues that does not interfere with their normal work schedule.  This is also motivational and helps in team building.  Make sure to clear this with HR to make sure there are no labor laws violated.
  5. Find a webinar or workshop that specializes in the subject matter.  It can be viewed either in house or at a yearly retreat type of event.  
  6. You might find someone who can benefit from some one-on-one mentoring.  A gesture like this goes a long way not to mention builds morale and shows leadership.
  7. Take the time to get with your staff to discuss the optimal training they would like to receive.  What might look good to you is not really what they need or want to learn.  Take a poll by having them list the top 5 training needs in a secret ballot due to some individuals might be too embarrassed to publicly state the training they need.  Gather the information and find the main trend.  If the majority requests the same training need, you can start setting up the training process right away.  If there are a few different ideas, you can either set up a few different training sessions, or gather your staff together to discuss all possible options.
  8. If it is within the budget, offer a company paid tuition to a local college.  This is a huge motivational and retaining tool to use.
  9. Try to relate the training to something they already know and are confident doing.  It is easier to learn something new when you can relate it to what you already know.
  10. Training should be as visual as possible with true hands on participation.  They need to actually perform the tasks they are being taught. 
  11. Make sure your boss or upper management shows their excitement towards this training amongst your employees.  This will generate more enthusiasm and determination.
  12. Make sure they are motivated and want to learn.  They should feel a sense of excitement about enhancing their career by becoming more knowledgeable.  The more motivated they are, the more they will want to learn.
  13. Keep the training area away from any office or factory related noise and commotion.  They need to be 100% focused with no distractions.  This also includes turning off cell phones and not checking e-mail from their laptops.
  14. Make sure you take a quick break after each main subject.  Each subject should be no more than 1 to 2 hours.  Too much information all at once is too much to take in.
  15. It is ok to do repetitive training if it is needed.  The more your employees see, hear and do something, the better they will be able to remember it.
  16. If anyone cannot make the training, ask one of the employees who took the training to train other employees with the information learned.  This could be thought of as “train the trainer.”
  17. During the training seminar, make sure to discuss how the material being taught applies to real life scenarios.  If there are good examples to use, this would be a great time to discuss.
  18. If you cannot set up a training course or provide online training, you can always purchase business books for the employees.  Ask them to read it during slow times at work or at home.  You might even want to start up a book club to meet once a week so that the employees can discuss facts with one another.
  19. Set up a buddy system.  Pair up a seasoned knowledgeable employee with a less experienced employee. This would improve skills and build confidence.  This also builds a strong work ethic, morale, and loyalty within the team.  Just make sure the knowledgeable employee adheres to these rules:
    • Puts the less experienced employee at ease by not showing off and is humble with stories about when they first started out.
    • Asks what the person knows or does not know about the training subject.  Nothing should be assumed, as the person might be afraid to ask any questions.  Don’t blind the person with science by using acronyms or terms they do not understand.
    • Covers the main objectives and goals including how their job relates to the big picture. 
    • Motivates and creates excitement.  This is a time for positive interaction, not negative opinion.
    • Clearly goes over the workflow both visually and in theory.  Have the less experienced person repeat it back until fully understood.
    • Makes sure the less experienced person performs the tasks. The main goal is to fully understand the processes, procedures and expectations.  Total quality is always imperative and is absolutely key to the persons and company’s success.
    • Sets up a post meeting, and if necessary another training session, to make sure all is good.
  1. Training is an ongoing commitment you need to make to your team.  You need to always keep on top of any training needs.  Always remember, “The more you train, the more they retain.”


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