“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
The other day I answered a query someone had about where they could get help to implement ‘Investors in People’. I started by asking what it was they wanted to achieve? Which got me thinking about learning.
It’s said that some firms give new employees brief training on how to do the job and then that’s it. Some invest in things like team building exercises or NLP because it’s the done thing or they want to be seen to be doing something. There’s probably benefit in both these things but training and development shouldn’t be a random add on to the business it should be what drives individual and team growth to enable business growth.
The only factor by which you can judge the effectiveness of training and development is by improved business results. Yes, there can be indirect measures like better attendance and time-keeping, a better atmosphere in the office, less time spent supervising or reworking but these are not ends in themselves. All development should be positively affecting the bottom line including Customer satisfaction.
Some training has to be in sheep dip/ classroom style and may have to be outsourced but you can facilitate learning everyday on the job:
- Catch someone doing something right and tell them so publicly – development by positive reinforcement.
- Catch someone doing it wrong and put them right quietly with reasons why – development in getting it right first time.
- Involve people in your vision and your story so far – people learn and buy in to your goals
- Involve people in the planning process – they learn and understand the ‘why’ as well as the ‘what’ which improves ownership and commitment
- Involve people in creating simple ways of doing things (systems) – they learn good practice and that their ideas are always welcome
- Take people out to meet Customers and suppliers – they learn where their work fits in and its importance.
- Let team members shadow you for a day – they learn the challenges of your role and perhaps how they can help e.g. by greater self-sufficiency
- Engage in 360 degree feedback with your team – they learn that you’re invested in your own development too!
Training and development in whatever form it takes should always be about improving results. Sometimes you can see an immediate effect; sometimes it will take a while but you’ll see improvements over a period of time. Bear in mind that to judge improvements you need to know where you started from, like getting on the scales before you try to lose weight! So know your critical numbers before you start.
Do one thing: establish your critical business numbers and make a start.
Thanks for reading 🙂