Telling isn’t Training

December 5, 2016

Training employees may be a high priority for employers, but is it often poorly executed. If you train employees properly and give them adequate time to practice their new skills – with ample feedback along the way – you will see increased accuracy, less anxiety, and more teamwork.  

Without proper training, you may be setting your employee up to fail. Think about the impact errors make on your workplace. When a new employee makes mistakes, revenue may be lost, reputation may be impacted, and teamwork may be affected.  You may even lose the employee.  

Developing a training plan for each position is not as hard as it sounds.  Use these tips to help guide you:

  • Don’t recreate the wheel if you don’t have to. Take stock of all sources for training like job descriptions, practice policies and procedures, online resources, seminars, tutorials and internal expertise that may already exist, etc. and include them in your plan where appropriate.
  • Understand the different learning styles. Be patient with the employee who may seem to take a lot of notes and ask a lot of questions; it shows an interest and desire to be accurate.
  • Provide training for all facets of the job. This includes soft skills, such as relationship building, customer service, organizational and communications. Make sure a member of management has reviewed, approved, and monitors the plan.  
  • Assure that the trainer is truly training the new employee. Don’t just tell them what to do. The difference between telling and training is significant. Training is actually teaching and addresses why a task is done and how it can be best accomplished. Tasks are trained in order of increasing difficulty and the trainer is continually assessing a trainee’s understanding and progress. Don’t forget to include the impact of an error; this may take more time, but it provides the new employee a greater understanding of his or her job.

Training should not stop with the new employees.  All employees should be given an opportunity to receive training and improve their skills.  Ongoing professional development for your staff is not only a way of building a highly skilled team, but also a way of retaining employees and gaining loyalty.  It’s worth the investment of time and energy to do it right.

Contributed by Jodi Schafer, Human Resource Management Services, LLC.

Jodi presents our Supervisor & Manager Training courses three times a year throughout the state. Contact Tammy Smith to learn more about the Spring 2017 course.