One of the best things we consistently hear from customers is that they have enjoyed and learned a lot from our training courses. However, when we follow-up, sometimes we also hear things like my organization isn’t doing anything with it, I haven’t really been able to implement as much as I would like, or I wish we were doing more with it. Too often, organizations drop precious training dollars on getting an individual or two certified, only to completely neglect putting their knowledge to work after class.
So, what to do? Two simple steps are all you need to take in this situation to ensure your knowledge doesn’t get lost in the shuffle, but utilized to bring about lasting, positive change in your organization.
1. Schedule a post-training knowledge sharing session.
If your organization invested in on-site training to get a number of your staff trained at once (which is a great idea – here are details on the many benefits of on-site training), then be sure to get everyone who attended the training together to hold a follow-up meeting. Call it a recap, strategic planning session, or something else entirely (maybe not “free happy hour” unless you want a bunch of disappointed coworkers on your hands). What’s important is getting everyone together and having a discussion around, “Ok, what do we do now with all of this good information?”. Come up with some actionable goals that can be achieved in the next 30, 60, or 90 days. Assign ownership and make a commitment to meet again after a certain time to discuss everyone’s progress. We often facilitate a one-day strategic planning session after an on-site training course to come up those “What now?” action items, ensure they’re aligned to the organization’s or team’s goals, and follow up after 30 days to ensure the team is making progress against their commitments.
If you were the only person to attend training, be sure to schedule time to talk with your boss and/or team to discuss what you learned in class. Go to your boss and/or team with ideas for what you’d like to implement – or facilitate a discussion on improvements that can be made. Be sure to do this while the information is still fresh in your mind (no more than 1 – 2 weeks post-training). In some cases, you can ask your instructor to hold a Lunch & Learn session for your organization. We do free, informational sessions like this for customers all the time, and they work really well. Just let us know. We’re happy to stop by and share our knowledge. These sessions are especially beneficial if you’re having a difficult time getting your organization to buy into a concept – or even pay for training in the first place. Sometimes it’s good to get an outside voice, in addition to your own, to talk with your team and help make your case for improvement.
2. Pair training with hands-on coaching.
Like the above step, this one can take a number of different formats, depending on your organization’s culture and which problems you’re trying to solve. For example, if folks are overwhelmed with the amount of new information following a training class and need help on understanding where to start, then performing an organizational “health check” or assessment can be of huge benefit.
If your team is looking for an understanding of how to implement concepts from class, a hybrid training and hands-on workshop type of course would be best. We recently started leading this type of session for customers, and they have been very well received. A course of this type usually includes training in the morning with hands-on problem solving exercises in the afternoon. Essentially, the team puts the concepts learned in class to immediate use by building or fixing something specific. For example, we had one customer struggling in specific areas within their Change Management process. A few weeks prior to the training course, we talked through their biggest challenges and came up with some exercises to help them get these issues resolved. For this particular course, we discussed Change Management theory in the morning, and helped them classify standard changes and revamp their Request for Change (RFC) form in the afternoon. By the end of the day, we had gone through a lot of post-it notes, taken photos of the exercises and results for the teams to bring back to work, and come up with tangible solutions to some of their most nagging problems.
These facilitated sessions do not necessarily have to happen during training, however. They can take place afterward, too. Some groups prefer to complete training, let the information soak into people’s heads a bit, then follow it up a few days or weeks later with coaching, continuing the sessions once a week for six weeks.
Another popular delivery method for coaching sessions is to begin a few days (or weeks) after training is complete, so students have a little time to process the new information. Typically, these sessions will run once a week for six weeks post-training. This is by design, as it generally takes about six weeks for new habits to take hold.
An added bonus of weekly coaching is the ability to ask questions of someone who’s been there done that, so when you get stuck (which everyone does), you won’t stay stuck. Think of it as having an organizational or team fitness coach who checks in and holds you accountable for your commitments – making sure you’re sticking to the new regimen. It’s amazing how having a coach can push you farther and keep you motivated. Accountability is a powerful thing.
More questions about training?
Below, we answer our most frequently asked.