Corporate training is critical for employee development; it is an investment that benefits the individual, team, and organization. Companies that focus on training their employees often have a stronger culture and greater growth than companies without a formal training strategy. Understandably, training programs are time and resource intensive, and many companies have challenges integrating new techniques and processes into their daily work. Below we discuss techniques to increase the value of corporate training and to improve your team’s retention of the lessons delivered.
Some clichés are true: if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. Coming up with a game plan for training integration is necessary for success. It’s critical to anticipate challenges and get buy-in from team members. We’ve broken our best practices into two phases: pre-training and post-training. Each phase provides a list of activities that maximize your training experience.
Pre-Training Phase Activities
- If you are using an external training organization to lead your training, make sure their process includes customizing the training content to align with your goals and address knowledge gaps and pain points. This customization increases training attendee participation, understanding, and learning. (Hint: Red Team takes this approach with all our corporate training clients)
- Establish a game plan for pre-training meetings and a post-training debrief 1-2 days after the training. As soon as the training date is confirmed, add the debrief meeting to the calendar while schedules are clear.
- Set expectations with your team—if attendees are told to participate in training without an explanation of why and how it will help them, engagement and morale suffer. It’s important to discuss the objectives and expected outcomes of the training with your team and cite examples to substantiate the need. This will help gain buy-in from the team who will in turn be more willing and eager to participate.
- Gather information from the external training organization on what materials they provide (i.e., handouts, templates, examples, surveys, etc.) pre- and post-training.
- Assign someone to lead the training integration, to keep the project on track. Pick someone who is organized, good with details, and has the bandwidth to support. This is a great task for a greener employee looking to get more experience managing a project.
Post-Training Phase Activities
- Debrief on the training. As cited earlier, this meeting will have been scheduled in the pre-training phase and should include key attendees and stakeholders. It should take place no more than 2 days after the training while thoughts are fresh. Here are several ways to facilitate the debrief:
- Ask questions of the group in the debrief meeting. The point-person should be documenting the responses. Here are some sample questions to get the conversation flowing: What was the most valuable takeaway? What are some areas that were not covered but would have been useful to discuss during the training? How will you use this training to improve your performance?
- Create a short 3-5 question survey for all attendees and ask similar questions to the debrief. We advise making this anonymous to get candid, more-thoughtful responses. Use this as an opportunity to gather data on other training needs that exist.
- Adopting the lessons and new initiatives from the training may be the biggest challenge for your team, so make the information as accessible as possible.
- Determine what elements of the training can be implemented immediately and what will take longer to adapt. Have attendees document their plan to incorporate elements from the training into their near-term and long-term work.
- Document any changes that need to be made to an existing process (i.e., capture, proposal, etc.). If possible, map the training materials to your current process and highlight where changes are being made to make it obvious to the team.
- Create a resource repository and include all the materials from the training (i.e., templates, presentation, and recording).
- Communicate with the training attendees and anyone impacted by process changes where to find the resource repository (include a link to it) and share the contact information of the point-person (established in pre-training phase) for any questions or concerns.
- Check in regularly with your team to ensure they are using the materials effectively and that the original need for training was met.
- If they are experiencing any roadblocks, we recommend contacting the training organization for clarification or post-training support.
We Can Train Up Your Team
In our corporate training offering we cover proposal management and writing, business development, capture strategy, strategic pricing and Price-to-Win, and orals coaching.
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