Most businesses agree that training and education are important parts of employee development.Yet, most also view this process as an expense, not an investment.
This mindset influences how training and education programs are developed and provided. As a result, many companies offer limited opportunities, often a few days once a year. This type of training is a waste of money as each time the annual program is offered, every participant is basically starting over.
An effective training and education program is an investment. It’s like going to the gym. People who workout on a consistent schedule see results and a return on the investment in the gym membership. Those who go infrequently and do not go consistently see little if any improvement, and their membership becomes a waste of money, or an expense.
Training and education are investments, that when offered consistently, with follow up coaching and mentoring, can be extremely successful. In fact, people who do their best, make the most money, and contribute most to an organization’s bottom line are consistently learning.
Optimal Training and Education Programs
Effective training and education requires three things to succeed.
- Management Buy-in
- Time and Attention
Before presenting a program to employees, a training program should be rolled-out to management. This provides an opportunity to ensure that every step aligns with the company’s goals and re-enforces processes and behaviors. It is imperative that management and the trainer are on the same page before the program starts.
The initial program should be held off-site for a specific number of days. Cell phones and laptops should be turned off or even left outside the classroom. Without full, undivided attention and participation, even the best program won’t succeed. Following the initial phase, the program should move back to the office where the trainer can observe and coach in a real-time, live setting. This coaching should be repeated at specific intervals to provide participants time to practice and improve, and trainers to identify areas that still need work.
Ideally, this process should be repeated quarterly.
Recent studies at Stanford University and Harvard University found that contrary to popular belief, people do not have a single learning style – auditory, visual, or tactile. And, restricting individuals to a specific type of learning, or labeling them as one kind of learner, can hinder progress and undermine their belief that they can succeed. More important, it gives them an excuse for failure.
These studies show that the most effective learning takes place when individuals apply new knowledge in diverse situations. This happens when learners have gained a clear understanding of the material and are put in situations where they can apply what they learned. In addition, the researchers found that employees who are committed to learning, and have the opportunity to spend significant time in training and education programs, can develop expertise and mastery. Finally, they concluded that the more an individual learns about a subject, the easier it is to add to that knowledge.
These findings underscore the importance of providing consistent, ongoing training and education programs.
When dealerships – or any business – invest in ongoing training and education, they help everyone perform at higher levels. Without a consistent commitment to training and education their people will have to continually re-learn what was taught previously rather than building on what they learned. Companies who see the value and make the investment to develop their people are those that operate at elite levels of performance and efficiency.
Author: Jennifer Libin
Jennifer Libin, Sales Director, APB, excels in training salespeople to work as teams and cultivate relationships. EMAIL: email@example.com.