Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Simple training etiquette: Follow the Golden Rule

As youngsters we were all taught the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” But now we’re a little older and the Rule is buried underneath everything else on our ‘to do’ lists.

When it comes to employee training, the Golden Rule should be followed every step of the way, from the planning stage through to any follow-up training. By treating others how you want to be treated, your training program will be more effective and enjoyable to attend.

“In this case, ‘Do unto others…’ means don’t bore them, don’t waste their time, and don’t make them sit through a presentation you would hate,” says Barbara Jones at BizCustoms.com.

A well thought out training program will take the employees’ perspective into consideration at every point of the process. Here are some tips to implement the Golden Rule and follow simple training etiquette throughout your program or presentation:

Scheduling. Schedule employee training at a convenient time when employees are least distracted. Sit down with employees to find out the busiest time of the day or if there are important deadlines coming up. Proper scheduling will reduce the number of disgruntled attendees and increase the number of focused, engaged employees.

Location. Keep training in house and during work hours. Not only will in-house training save you from paying travel costs, it’s also less burdensome on employees. Off-site or after-hours training requires employees to rearrange their outside schedules and creates resentment. Make training as convenient as possible to attend.

Train vs. lecture. We all know how exciting it can be to listen to someone read from a slide presentation. Passive listening, like hearing a speech or lecture, usually causes boredom. Like we said last week, get your audience talking and they’ll retain more. Involve employees throughout the training process with practice exercises and conversation for more effectiveness.

Repetition. Most people don’t understand something completely until it is repeated or practiced. The more an idea is repeated, the more chance it has to be retained. Give employees something on paper to reinforce the ideas covered in the training program.

Implementation. Don’t put someone through training and assume they will have no problem implementing the new skills they learned on their own. Create opportunities for employees to practice their new skills as soon as the training is complete. If employees do not have the chance to practice, skills will be lost and your training will have been a waste of time.

When designing your next employee training program, take a step back to think about how you would feel as a trainee and how you would like to be treated. Remember those feelings during the planning process, along with some simple training etiquette, and you’ll see the difference in your employees the next time they complete training.

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