Utilizing Training

I wanted to address the utilization of any training readers may attend in this week’s blog. As a trainer and consultant I do what I do for the benefit of others. I believe in what I teach, have seen the advice I’m paid to give work, and know that things can be so much better for so many shops. I also see the challenges that most organizations face both when attending training, and after having attended training.

Training only works if you take something away from it. Sounds obvious doesn’t it? Many people attend training because it’s “mandatory” (which in my opinion it should be!). Attending training is very different than taking something away from training however. Can you sit through a mandatory training program and gain new knowledge? Of course. I’d rather you approach training with more intent however.

I recommend shops take a cultural approach to training. What I mean by that is that training is an expectation set from the day a person is interviewed. Everyone attends training together. Nobody gets excused (within reason of course). The entire shop understands that training is a part of the job and a requirement of employment. Great, so how do we make it effective?

The simple answer is to talk about it before and after. The best learning experiences I’ve observed were when and organization met before a training session (can be at work just before you leave, outside the training room before the session, or even the day before) and talked about what they hoped to learn about the subject. Someone was in charge of writing down the group’s goals so that a follow up meeting could be conducted to see if the training provided answers. This serves to focus each individual on specific aspects of the training that they have a vested interested in. It also serves to generate questions during the training session focused on getting the information individuals had hoped to take away.

The next step to effective training utilization is to hold a follow up meeting after the training session. The follow up session not only allows the group to identify if they’ve had their questions answered and if more training is needed, but it allows everyone to share what they learned. Once the group recognizes what each teammate learned you can then discuss how the information can get utilized.

A secondary benefit to taking a focused approach to training utilization is that the follow up discussion will generate ideas of its own. The information learned can then be adapted to your organizations in a manner that works for your shop environment. This is always better than just listening to one person’s ideas that they are putting forth in a seminar and taking it for face value.

Progress is found in constant, intentional learning. Put a learning process in place for your organization even if it’s just an informal gathering before and after a training session. Do this for both technical training as well as business management, and service advisor training. Doing so will allow you to fully utilize the training you pay for.