08 Nov To do training in an economical and efficient way
It doesn’t make any difference if you are building cool apps or running a medical office, once you have a couple of dozen employees you are going to need some training. You are big enough to have processes that need to be followed and a critical need for a way to bring people up to speed quickly. In the absence of training, people will train themselves – usually resulting in outcomes that are in the opposite direction than what you had in mind.
Yes, training is going to cost you something, but it’s not going to be as much as you think. And I assure you it’s less than turning around an upset customer or fixing the impact of a file that was sent in error.
So read on about how you might ease yourself into training in an economical and efficient way.
Focus on critical tasks, not roles
Your team is evolving and moving ninety miles an hour. People are wearing different hats and roles have a lot of fuzzy edges. Instead of training someone to fit a particular role, put your energies on the tasks that your team performs and the skills that are needed to accomplish those tasks. Because regardless of who does it, these tasks need to get done well in an ongoing, predictable way.
Spring for an instructional systems designer, but leverage your SMEs
Just like you wouldn’t use someone who doesn’t know anything about coding to build your apps, you shouldn’t use someone who doesn’t know anything about learning to plan out your training. Enter the Instructional Systems Designer (ISD). Think of these people as a cross between the Product Manager and the Business Analysts – but in the training world. Basically they quickly identify the skills, knowledge, and information gaps of your team and create or leverage existing materials and learning activities to meet the needs.
A good ISD will understand that you can’t afford a turnkey solution now, but will work with you and your Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to focus on the learning gaps of your most critical tasks. Have your ISD focus on identifying what your team needs now and create a training approach that you can deliver and sustain with your SMEs.
You can do training without being fancy
There are a number of low-cost strategies to produce the training materials that doesn’t take that long and can be revised or replaced easily. Your ISD can get these started and train your SMEs on how to build and update them. This might include a simple cheat-sheet job aid, a step-by-step PowerPoint template to guide your SMEs to deliver training, mentoring techniques for faster onboarding (versus what we have come to call “shadowing”), utilizing freeware to reinforce the training and create online quizzes. Also, don’t forget that you don’t need a production studio anymore to create short videos. There is a lot you can do with your iPhone and some very inexpensive software.
What tasks should be trained first?
Good question. Regardless of how well you are organized or how good a manager you are, a small, fast-growing company is always in somewhat of a state of chaos. So, here’s my rule of thumb: It’s all about the customers.
If you have very limited training bucks, put them first toward the tasks that customers see. This may be processes your client-facing employees need to follow to best communicate with your customers or it may be a way a file has to be prepared and tested. Whatever impacts your customers most, is where I suggest your start.
Waiting will only make things worse
Start small but start. Try out different training strategies, see which ones work for your team and your products, evaluate how it’s working and make changes as needed. The longer you put off getting started, the more difficult it will be and the greater the chance that your employees will fill the learning gaps with the wrong information.
What to learn more?
You can reach me at call me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at +34 677 415 305. If you are local, I’ll buy you a cup of coffee and we can have a chat. If not, we can always Skype and share a virtual cup of coffee together!
Learning Director at Intracon