Like communication, training and awareness is always an area that organisations can do better on. But what do we mean by this and what does better look like? Training has the ability to galvanise individuals and departments to achieve real results and a cultural shift in the way people work, such as RBS with the energy and waste savings that were identified.
With over 15 years of experience providing training courses at both a public level and also tailored sessions for individual organisations, there are a few tips that I have learnt along the way.
No two sessions are the same, as they rely upon the audience to provide the discussion around the structured learning framework. Interacting with the attendees allows each session to focus upon what is important to the group and deliver outputs that will work for them. Engagement is key, and it is very easy to identify those who are only there because they have to – which happily is a minority.
1. Understand your audience
Content and language needs to be pitched at the right level, so understanding who is attending and what they know already is important and will help influence how the session is prepared.
Typically a mixture of face-to-face, online courses and workshop based short sessions can be used for organisations. Senior managers typically are more time constrained and looking for learning from activities, whilst middle managers and supervisors have the greatest role in delivering against company requirements.
2. Need to align with organisational strategy
A clear line needs to be provided between the organisation’s values and approaches and the key issues described in the training. All too often information is told to individuals to deliver against, but this misses the fundamentals of behavioural psychology – that people don’t like being told what to do.
Explaining why the organisation is following its path and the role that is required will engender much greater engagement and involvement. It also provides the basis of why the decision was taken and therefore allows individuals much more responsibility in decision making. The output is greater engagement and less requests for additional support or questions.
3. Promote internal activities
Organisations have a number of processes and examples of practices which may not be fully understood individually or how they link up. This can include references to standard operating procedures, to data collection and analysis tools or reporting systems. Workshops can be built around this knowledge to help reinforce messages and embed knowledge.
Inclusion of this information provides an evidence base of what is happening, and the inclusion of external case studies can help exemplify the journey that is to be taken. Choosing which to include is therefore important as it will describe how you want the business to respond.
4. Hold an introspective session
There are a number of challenges and barriers that any organisation faces and bringing together a group of individuals can sometimes exacerbate focussing upon the negatives. However, understanding the problems is a key component to being able to solution effectively and therefore this shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand.
Capturing these challenges early through an introspective session provides a release for many allowing greater concentration and also can inform the session throughout the day. Being able to steer the conversation during this session can provide the starting point for later workshops when looking at solutioning.
5. Capture knowledge at the end of the day
Finally, an area that is often missed, but one where often the greatest benefit is seen. Each session provides valuable knowledge about the organisation and perceptions of progress which can be used to improve delivery. If more than one session is held, it can provide a great lens to understand the business, comparing the responses and approach between the different groups.
Often, I will insist on an individual from the organisation to attend the session, both to impart information about the company processes and approach, but also to learn about the feedback from the attendees.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but following these five areas will help to deliver a more powerful training experience for the attendees, organisation and also for yourself.
BY SUNIL SHAH