Training your staff is crucial for any number of reasons and all of you do it – whether you recognise it as training or not. I’d like to encourage you all to recognise when training should happen and when it does happen, making it a conscious activity.
What do I mean by that? Whether it is on-job, or off-job training, you should formalise the process somewhat:
The clue is in the title of On-job Training – it is training that takes place whilst doing the job; live in front of customers and systems. Off-job Training takes place away from the work and often covers theoretical, legal, rationale points, or it might be to develop personal skills (e.g. communication, coaching, challenging situations) in a safe and neutral environment, or it might be simulation – after all we would prefer that pilots practice crash landings on the simulator!
Off-job training is also a great way to build teams as you can train a number of people at once, encouraging discussion and support. You don’t always need an external trainer to do this (but this is something to consider, especially for advanced skills or deeper knowledge); you can deliver it yourself. It’s scary as you will need to plan a whole morning or day(s), with content, materials and activities. You can be trained to do this effectively, and a good point to remember about training is – training is NOT a presentation; it’s not just about giving information that the audience can use or ignore. Training is about learning and a training session should ensure that the participants have actually learned something. So, in planning your off-job sessions, how and when will you check learning has happened?
I, and many others, can provide Train-the-Trainer sessions to help you and your colleagues learn the techniques of effective on and off-job training.
Another consideration when delivering off-job training is where to do it. You may have the luxury of a meeting or boardroom on your premises, but there are a number of problems with this. Yes, it is cheaper. Yes, the key people are still on site if you need them (but can you guarantee that they won’t be called away to deal with an urgent matter. Remember dragging them out of training devalues the training and the employee). Yes, you get a full day’s work out of them (they will often do a bit of work before and after the session).
However, I would highly recommend doing off-job sessions off site where they last a morning or more. This demonstrates you value the training; you can choose a venue that is conducive to training (space, comfortable seats, nice food etc.); ensure the right equipment for training in situ. Hotels are great for this, but you should also look out for local venues that are specific for the purpose of training – look for ones that have good size meeting rooms, extra rooms for breakout sessions, great training equipment, meeting rooms fit for purpose, and personalised food (diets, and can be eaten in the time available). Local venues tend to provide a personalised service and will go out of their way to look after your delegates.
Heath House Conference Centre in Uttoxeter is one of my local venues.