So your company has made the excellent decision to invest in management or leadership training. You are excited about the potential for change and ready to see improvement in your workforce. But, are you really doing everything you can as an organization to make the training effective?
At Helios, we deliver training to a wide variety of clients and are experts in instructional design. We also know that the success of training relies on more than just the content. Whether you deliver training internally or bring in an outside resource, the following mistakes should be avoided.
Four Common Mistakes with Management Training to Avoid:
- Not Changing the Environment: Offsites are a great way to deliver training – taking managers out of their normal environment generally leads to better attention and participation. Your company doesn’t have to make a significant investment in venue space to achieve this effect. If you have multiple buildings or office sites, simply pick one that most managers don’t frequent. What you want to avoid is delivering training in the same space where other types of weekly or staff meetings are held. Management training is a special opportunity for learning and should be done with as few distractions as possible.
- Invisible Executives: Just as changing up the venue sends a message about the importance of training, so does executive participation. If company executives do not participate, it sends the wrong message to everyone else in attendance. Particularly if the training is part of a larger change management effort, the absence of the company’s senior leaders will be noticed and will undermine the overall message. Assuming that executives do attend, it’s also important that they be engaged. Nothing sets a worse example than an executive who has his or her laptop open for the entire meeting or who leaves frequently to take calls.
- Lack of Customization: When we design training at Helios, we take great care to make our content relevant for each individual client. We seek to understand the business and to gear our training to each company’s unique culture. Many companies purchase off-the-shelf training solutions (videos, slide decks, etc.) which can be affordable, but often lack relevance. Wherever possible, try to incorporate the policies and culture of your organization. For example, if you are delivering training on performance management for a professional services firm where most employees are exempt, don’t utilize an off-the-shelf module focusing on time and attendance concerns such as you would see in a more production-based work environment.
- No Follow Up: At a minimum, you should ask participants to complete an evaluation form. This is particularly helpful if you are delivering training in segments as the feedback along the way will allow you to change your approach. You also need to think about how your company will continue to reinforce the messages from your training. Let’s say you delivered a four-part training on communication over the course of a month because an annual employee attitude survey revealed systemic problems with communication. While you probably made a great start over the four sessions, the lessons will be forgotten if they are not reinforced. The larger the issue at hand, the more time and focus it will take to make a change in behavior, particularly at the organizational level. One great way to follow up is to incorporate the desired outcomes from training into manager performance reviews.
Even a short training session of two hours requires a significant investment of time from those who facilitate and those who attend. If you have questions about how to make training work for your organization, contact us at Helios today.