So, you have a team member that’s taken the initiative to find a training outside the organization that will help build their skill set. Congrats on having a relationship with your team that allows them to feel this is something they can/should do! Now that you’re paying for this training (and their time not at their desk pushing paper), how do you make sure you maximize the company’s dollar while they’re there? Great question! Read on for a few steps to ensure both the organization, and your savvy team member, benefit from this initiative.
Have a pre-training pow-wow with the team member to prep them for the training. This is a key time to review topics like: what motivated them to search for this training, what do they expect to get from the training, what topic outlined in the overview seems like it will be the most beneficial to them, how do they plan on taking notes/information away from the training so they can implement it at work. With any of these topics, ask follow up questions; a great follow up is: why.
“What topic outlined in the overview seems like it will be the most beneficial to you? … That’s great! Why does that one stand out for you?”
Within a week of the training, have another chat with your team member about how the training went. Again, be armed with some questions that will help the conversation flow in a productive direction: how did the training meet their expectations, what tips/tricks did they find the most useful, which topic ended up being the most interesting/applicable to them, how do they plan to implement these in their regular work day. Just like with the initial conversation, be sure to ask probing questions.
“When we chatted prior to the training, you felt like the section on organizational skills would be most helpful to you, what topic actually provided the most information you found useful? … Really, that’s interesting! Why do you think that one took the top of the list?”
This, although the farthest from the training, may be THE MOST IMPORTANT part. It’s super easy to start something new when it’s fresh and fun, but much harder to bring it from passing fad to part of the routine. Schedule a follow up with your team member to look at how this training has impacted their actions long term: what tips/tricks have you kept from your training, which have you modified to be more specific to you and your work, which tips/tricks ended up not working for how you run your desk. This follow up should be in the 6-8 week range, and can be repeated as necessary to help your employee work through any challenges with changing the way they work.
“Last time we chatted about your training, you were super excited to try a few new processes, which do you feel has been the easiest to implement? … Was this the one you expected to be the easiest? … What about it has made it easier than the others?”
Remember these conversations aren’t some series of questions you have to mark off a to do list, take the time to have an actual conversations around this training. Your team member put a lot of effort into finding something and had the guts to ask for it; show them your gratitude by giving them your time/attention.
What do you do to help your team make the most out of trainings? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section!