Training Your Trainers

In the last 18 months, the business world has been flipped upside down. With nearly four million Americans quitting their jobs in April 2021, coupled with a headline-grabbing labor shortage, there needs to be an investigation into what the cause of this shift is. While there are many reasons, two stand out:  employees want a nore flexible and remote work environment and employees want a better training and professional development program.  Employees are leaving to find better opportunities that will help grow their careers and others are looking to continue to work remotely.

Focusing on training can be a significant difference between a company and their competitor when talented potential employees consider offers in their job search. According to HR Daily Advisor: “Employee training is more effective than ever, not just for upskilling employees but also for attracting and retaining the best employees in a workforce that increasingly sees personal and career growth and development as key considerations in their job search and career path.” For this reason, the focus of many companies in the next few years will be enhancing their corporate training to strengthen employee retention.

The important things that a trainer needs to know are how to engage participants and what they should be watching for in a training session. The key to any training program is engagement. If trainees are not engaged, they will not learn because they have lost interest and are only partially listening. The best way to keep a trainee engaged is to actively involve them in the training by letting them do and letting them own their learning.

This means the instructor needs to understand learning, how people learn, what level of understanding their audience already has and how to get them involved in the learning experience.  Training should not be a lecture or a session where the trainer tells the group information but rather an environment where the trainer coaches the group through information and activities.  Getting people to work together, understanding project and activity-based learning, and focusing the group so they are problem solving and giving ideas and recommendations.  Not everyone can do this.  A good trainer knows they need to produce an environment where everyone wants to participate.  They tend to be great storytellers with the magic touch of engaging the group in the story. 

So, who trains the trainers?  With new technologies  and techniques that let trainers change how they teach, training the trainers is even more important.   Trainers need to continuously go through professional development to keep them familiar with new training and learning techniques.  Their profession is so critical to companies and keeping them in the know on what’s successful, how to build training programs to meet the changing needs of a diverse and remote workforce is as important as having training programs.  

Since the value of training is learning if they are not delivering programs where learning is the focus, they are missing the mark.  Add to the training needs of trainers, the need to be trained on the technology they will use to deliver the actual training programs.  Using a video conferencing or meeting platform doesn’t support the needs of learning.   Understanding what virtual platforms were built for training and learning is key and then understanding what the tools in the platform do, what it offers and how to optimize its use for engagement and learning is critical.In the following article, we will explore engagement and how trainers can use available training technology to improve their training sessions.