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2 Key Questions to Kickstart Employee Training

Employee Training GoalsNow that you’ve decided on the best training option for your organization, it’s time to start building your training program. However, this isn’t a simple task. Creating and implementing an effective training program that resonates with your people can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be.

By starting with a solid foundation, you can build a training program that will guide your employees and help achieve company goals. Here are two important questions you must ask when kicking off your training process:

1. What are you Trying to Accomplish?

It may take a little brainstorming and research, but by identifying the specific business objective you want to change, you’ll be on your way to building a training program that can accomplish those goals.

It’s easy to make assumptions about what needs to be trained – don’t! You need to expand your frame and look at the bigger picture. Organizations often jump to conclusions about what they need to fix, but end up only identifying the symptoms of a deeper root issue.

Take some time to define what “results” you want from your training. What is the needle you’re trying to move? It’s most likely performance – so what specific metric are you trying to affect and by how much?
• CSRs: “We want to decrease the amount of wrong parts sent in 2014 by 10%.”
• Engagement: “We want to increase the amount of participant information capture over 50% in 2014.”
• Automotive Repair: “We would like to increase the average repair order by 7% in 2015.”
• Sales: “We would like to increase average sales order by 4% in Q4 2014.”

Instead of setting a generic goal, such as increase sales, enhance customer service or decrease cost, these specific metrics provide your training with clear objectives and help point you in the right direction.

2. What’s Going on in the Field?

Now that you know the exact objective you want to reach, do the research to understand the “reality” of how this is playing out in your organization. Let’s use the CSRs, we want to decrease the amount of wrong parts sent in 2014 by 10%, example:
• Why are the wrong parts being sent?
• Where is the breakdown in the process?
• Who’s doing this right?
• What are they doing differently?

Here’s what is great about this, all you have to do is go, watch, document and maybe ask a question or two. These are the basics of ethnography or observational research and will pay dividends during your development effort.

If you think about the diversity in your team, it’s quite likely that there are some bright spots in your organization. We love the saying, “We ARE doing every right; we are just not doing it everywhere!” Take a look at the employees or areas of your company that are producing the results you want and ask:
• What is different in their environment?
• What are their people doing differently?
• What aren’t they doing?
• What’s missing that’s allowing them to perform better?

You may (and often will) find that training is only half the issue. “I had NO idea that was happening…” is a pretty common comment after these events.

While you may think the answers are obvious, it’s important to ask them anyways. You never know what going the next step and doing a little digging might unearth for your company. Once you identify what you want your training to accomplish and what’s going on in your field, you can move on to the next steps of building an effective employee training program.

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