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HR Talk: How to create engaging training culture

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Providing training for your employees is one thing while on the other hand instilling a training culture within the organisation is another.

Most organisations carry out training for the sack of it, resulting in negative results.

In some organisations, training is an exciting, integral part of the organisation’s activities. During the training sessions, everyone is alert, happy to be there and eager to learn.

Time flies by as everyone asks questions and encourages discussion. At other companies, training is regarded as an inconvenience.

Attendance is terrible, attendees are distracted and leave to take client calls during the course of training and participants are generally disengaged.

An organisation can establish the best training programme, but if it not taken seriously, all of that careful planning goes to waste.

Taking training to the next level may seem a daunting task, but a strong training culture can be put in place. The following steps can assist in establishing a training culture within an organisation:

Start from senior management: When senior management attends training first, they set a precedent for other employees to follow.

By taking a top-down training approach, senior management can share information with subordinates to get them excited and interested about attending training programmes.

Getting buy-in from senior management is a great way to establish training as a non-negotiable professional development opportunity.

The training culture will thereby be instilled within the organisation.

Make training a reward: Static, mandatory training produces mediocre results and low engagement.

When training is offered as a reward to instill employee morale and reward high performers, it produces the best results. It has been realised that training and development are the most highly valued benefits that have high retention rate for high performers in the first five years of their career.

Leadership development training can be a tribute to younger professionals and a great way to encourage employees.

Communicate why it is important to attend: It is the line manager’s role to tell their subordinates all that is expected of them during training is to focus on the training session and be present both physically and mentally. Clients, emails, and other projects can wait.

Make them realise that if they step away from work station, phone calls, and email, the organisation will still be functioning when they return from the training course.

Once employees are made aware that what is expected on their part is to pay full attention to the training, they will do just that. It is therefore imperative to encourage employees to take the time to learn, grow and develop professionally.

Establish a support system: Most organisations are mostly client focused, and when a client needs something, it should be provided right away.

There is need therefore to encourage teamwork which allows for employees to stand in for one another when a team member is in a training session.

Participants will be much more focused and engaged in the training if they don’t have to stress out about missing an e-mail or call.

Make it interesting and keep it relevant: There is also need to indentify what employees want in terms of training programmes.

As a line manager, it may be prudent to make a survey to try and establish your employees’ areas of interest as well as personal development opportunities and then find programmes that match their needs.

Employees can be empowered by making them feel like they’ve contributed in creating and deciding the focus for the training course.

Follow up on the training programme and keep the learning points top of mind: Training cannot end when the training session concludes.

It is advisable to follow up the training session by leading conversations one-on-one with employees on topics discussed in the training. Some managers do conduct a lunch-and-learn session to expand on key points from the workshop.

By following up on the training session, the line manager will be reinforcing what was acquired during training so as to enable the employees to transfer the knowledge into the work situation.

Paul Nyausaru is training & development practitioner. You can contact him on email pnyausaru@yahoo.co.uk, pnyausaru@gmail.com
Views contained in this article are personal

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