Three Levels of Training Reinforcement
With millions of companies out there, how do you make yours stand out? You need to have a competitive edge. Sure, you can have flashy promotions and expensive advertisements to draw in customers, but it is going to be your employees that make or break a sale. Managers need to make sure that everyone has an extensive knowledge of the product or service, but more than that, they need to be personable, friendly and attentive to their customer’s needs. High-level management should provide employees with constant coaching so that they can land more clients. When it comes to training, there are three steps that managers need to take in order to be successful.
The first step is base training. This is the foundation for all learning, and it typically comes in the form of workshops, seminars or e-learning courses. All too often, when it comes to training, companies believe that problems in the workplace are a one-stop fix. That is, one seminar will solve their issues, and they will begin to immediately see a return on their investment. However, what they fail to see is the big picture-that base training is the beginning of a three level process. Managers need to understand that base training cannot be the sole source of learning, and it needs to be followed with practice. There needs to be some sort of handoff. As employee’s come back, managers need to take the tools from the seminar and begin implementing them in the office.
The second step, reinforcement, refers to time put aside at the workplace for employees and managers to review what they have learned after training seminars. They engage employees in activities that will help reinforce key points of a seminar, and they practice for real world application. The sessions should last about 30-40 minutes, and there are different approaches that managers can take. First, they can employ a one-on-one sit down. During this meeting, managers may ask their employee to teach them what they learned through demonstration. This allows managers to gauge progression, and it will force the employee to remember and put their new tools to use. Another method is the group training session. Gather a couple of employees together and have them share with one another what they learned and what they adjusted. Group meetings encourage employees to listen to what others learned, and in turn, they may pick up something they may not have heard at the seminar.
While the reinforcement level focuses on practice, the third step, coaching, pertains more to analysis, review and advice, and it typically takes place in a one-on-one setting. During this meeting, managers should talk with their employees about their specific performance challenges. They should get an idea of what the employee thinks is their number one weakness. Next, managers should ask if he or she is having any difficulty with the training and practicing. An employee may not understand why they have to learn or change their approach to selling. It is vital that managers find out in advance any issues that someone may have with learning. Finally, an open discussion should evolve when having a one-on-one meeting. Both employee and manager should be able to freely talk about any strategies and techniques that can be used to enhance an employee’s performance.
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