If you type the word ‘training’ into Google, you’ll see that over a billion results are listed. So–understandably–when it comes to training, it’s hard to know where to start. Firstly, it’s important to identify why you need training. This may sound very rudimentary, however, I often come across organisations that engage in training because they have a budget they need to spend, it’s the trendy new ‘thing’, or the CEO believes it can be used to fix a problem. Training will not be a targeted solution in any of these scenarios.

Benefits of training

Training is an opportunity for the whole team, including managers, to set standards and procedures for the company that they all agree upon, understand and uphold.  This could cover areas such as:

  • Customer service
  • Operation of equipment
  • Employee grooming
  • Leadership
  • Handling complaints
  • Cross promotion of facilities and services

It is important that the whole team are involved, no matter how long or recent their employment with the company has been. Products and services change, and the 21st Century customer is more fickle, informed and quicker to complain than ever before.

Too good for training

Over the past two decades I have been training frontline teams in customer service. I often hear people say, “Oh, I know all about service,” or, “I have been serving people for years.”

It may be true that they are highly experienced experts, however, there is always something more for them to learn. Also, their attitude towards training reflects the attitude they bring to work every day.

Training is like polishing a diamond ring you wear for years. Even the nicest stone will get dull over time if it isn’t regularly cleaned and polished.  Training is all about ‘polishing the stone’, no matter how old or new a team member is.

Those who attend training, participate and put into place the agreed outcomes, are the team members who both personally and professionally develop.

Choosing the provider

There are large training companies and individual training consultants who offer both accredited and non-accredited programs along with a range of prices, delivery modes and program structures.

Review various training company websites, and ask your network for referrals. Also, if you’re a member of a Trade Association, they may have a list of preferred suppliers to the industry.  Take the time to meet with the trainer (or at least talk over the phone) to establish if they know the industry and have the ability to tailor their training program to your needs.

Engaging a trainer who is an expert in your industry–and who relates to the participants with points and stories of real case studies and scenarios–is important, as they have more credibility than someone who is just a general trainer.

Overall the trainer needs to understand the objectives and goals you as the owner/manager are seeking, and work collaboratively with you in putting together a program that will be delivered in a fun, enthusiastic, authentic and content-rich format.

Modes of training

There are many online courses on offer that team members can view at times suitable to their lifestyle. There are also live webinars that can be run in-house with the whole team. However, I prefer face to face training.  Having the team in the same room as the trainer provides the opportunity for role playing, enthused discussions, and questions. It also allows for participants to learn in their preferred way–for instance, reading, listening, activity-based or a combination of all three–so everyone gets the most out of the training.

Whether you choose to do training onsite or at another location will depend on your budget. It can be just a day, or a few days, and can include team building activities, such as bowling, orienteering. or rope climbing.

Training values the team

Offering training programs in the workplace demonstrates that you value your team members. For this reason, investing in them improves morale, loyalty and staff retention.