A Quick Guide to Training Team Members
At some point or another, every company has to go about the process of training its employees. Whether it’s because of new-hires, or whether it’s to introduce new procedures and systems, understanding how to formally prepare and instruct team members to adopt new ideas is an essential component of business. Good training has the capacity to enhance employee performance and elevate operational output. Many managers fumble when it comes to staff-training however because they either underestimate its importance, or they do not know how to coordinate the variables involved in training team members. On the surface, training people seems like a complex, labor-intensive initiative. Nonetheless with the right approach, there are no circumstances that make it absolutely impossible to achieve success when it comes to training employees. The following is a general guide to illustrate the most important principles of training team members:
- Conduct a Needs-Analysis.
Any form of training has to be established on a bedrock of self-awareness. The more an organization understands the specific areas of its functions that need improvement, the more precisely said organization will be able to facilitate changes that eliminate its problems. This self-awareness is best achieved through a needs-analysis evaluation. Needs-analysis involves documentation of elements such as employee skills, shortfalls in customer satisfaction, production cycle hitches, financial losses, or any other such performance indicators. Documenting this information creates a clear guide to determine the exact changes and training resources a company should implement in order to improve its situation.
- Know your audience.
Training programs are a tangible representation of the standards and values that an organization seeks to uphold. When successfully incorporated, these programs are meant to become part and parcel of employees’ behavior and instincts. As such, successful implementation of a training program hinges on a thorough understanding of the people who are expected to practice it. Instead of springing a set of blind instructions onto a team out of the blue, taking some time to assess their knowledge and abilities will create the opportunity to identify who needs concentrated attention during training, and by how much. Always prefix new training with team-building exercises that help staff prepare for change. Explain the company’s employee development process to reduce uncertainty, and prepare everyone psychologically for heightened supervision.
- Customize your Training Program.
Getting to know your audience opens the window to customize a training program. A deeper understanding of the personality profiles that compose a team makes it possible to modify training methods in a way that matches the performance expectations of your current workforce. For instance, if it is discovered that some members of a team are more familiar with a specific new technology than others, it would be more effective to design training in a way that gives basic information to the novices and advanced information to the experts. The most important goal is to emphasize knowledge that will enhance employee’s ability to perform their work rather than inundate them with information that they either know already, or have no ability to comprehend.
- Implement the Program.
After all of this background preparation has been completed, the next step is to decide on how best to implement the desired training. This basically denotes making choices such as: whether or not to hire professional trainers, whether to attend conferences, whether to invest in new technology, or whether to rely exclusively on in-house methods. Ultimately the most beneficial thing to do is to use a cost-efficient method. If training is going to be conducted on a small team, using elaborate means such as hiring professionals should only be necessary in cases where team members require specialized expertise.
- Evaluate Progress
Good training is about being engaged in the process well beyond the point that team members have been given new information. As employees adapt to new procedures and requirements, managers also have a responsibility to minimize any friction or push-back instigated by the natural human impulse to resist change. Feedback should be provided abundantly in order to maintain consistent performance from team members. Performance appraisals can help keep track of how well people are adapting to their new responsibilities. Rewarding good performance also bolsters employee morale about adopting new routines or systems. Making the effort to guide the training process past initial instruction keeps the motive behind this training alive, and allows it to become instinctive.
Conducting regular training is a way for a company to simultaneously improve operations, as well as communicate to a workforce that personal growth and development are esteemed at an institutional level. Being systematic and considerate about introducing employees to change is the key. Training is a process of nurturing and cultivation, not delegation. The more attention is paid to seeing it through, the more successful the desired training will be.