Monday, April 28, 2008

Spring training - refresh your employee programs

Spring is here, you’ve happily banished all of your winter boots to the creepy dark corner in the basement and stashed away those big, bulky coats to never be seen again! (Well, at least until next winter.)

After you’re done cleaning up the house, why not move some of that spring cleaning to the office? Freshen-up those tired, old employee training programs you’ve been using for years with some new ideas.

Switch-hit. Change to a new training platform. Using employee self-study training? Maybe switch to an interactive method. Using large training groups? Divide large training groups into smaller teams. Working in small groups keeps employees engaged and fosters teamwork.

Take it outside. Enjoy the change in weather and take your meeting or training session outside. Find a park pavilion nearby, or a restaurant with outdoor seating. A change of setting can break up a monotonous program and your employees will appreciate the fresh air.

Fire the coaches. Let the trainees become the trainers. Split up your training group into small sections and have them teach the group. Or, if someone has recently attended an outside training event, let them train others back at the office on what they learned.

Toss the ball around. Break out of the boring winter cycle with some out-of-the box team building activities. Contact local volunteer organizations and try to find a one-day community service project like a park clean-up or repair work at a nursing home. While helping out the community, you’re also building pride and team spirit.

Practice, practice, practice. Remember, don't forget to follow up. Employee follow-up training can help drive your message home and will keep employees engaged.

1 comment:

Michael L. Gooch said...

If I may, I would like to add one more catergory to this great article. As a whole, we all developed our training model after old Mrs. Snodgrass in the third grade. She was the teacher, you were the pupil, and you better sit there and be quiet as she drones on about the ABCs. Adult learners are quite different. Unlike third-graders, most adults see themselves as responsible for their own decisions and lives. Adult need to know why they need to learn something. In addition, each class may have a wide variety of ages in attendance. As much as it hurts me, I will be the first to confess that the older people need more time to learn than the younger set. People in their fifties, sixties, and seventies can learn new techniques and acquire new knowledge just as well as younger people. However, the older ones will need a little more time. When you mix your training class with both young and old, you will have some who are bored and some who are struggling. Be aware of this and come up with creative solutions. Michael L. Gooch, SPHR author of Wingtips with Spurs: Cowboy Wisdom for Today’s Business Leaders

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