6 Tips to Make Training Work: Strategies Before the Training

Training Transfer Tips to Do for Employees Before the Training Session

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Need to help employees transfer skills learned in training back to the workplace to improve performance? These four tips initially helped you know what to do prior to the training session to help employees transfer what they learned in training back to the job.

6 Tips for Helping Employees Apply Training on the Job

Here are six more tips to implement before training to help you provide training that will transfer skills back to the job.

1.Provide Complete Information About Training Content

Provide information for the employee about exactly what the training session will involve, prior to the training. Explain what is expected of the employee at the training session. This will help reduce an employee's normal anxiety about trying something new. If she knows what to expect, she can focus on the learning and training transfer rather than her potential discomfort with the unknown.

When offering a team building session, as an example, people invariably ask if they will have to touch each other or "do group hugs." They don't in standard corporate training and team building sessions, but this really drives home the point about letting people know what to expect prior to attending the session. They won't ask you and they may harbor fears that will affect their expectations of the training—adversely.

2. Make Clear the Training Will Be Expected to Affect Their Work

Make clear to the employee that the training is her responsibility and she needs to take the employee training seriously. She is expected to apply herself to the employee training and development process before, during, and after the session. This includes completing pre-training assignments, actively participating in the session, and applying new ideas and skills upon returning to work.

3. Make Sure the Training Provider Supplies Pre-Work

Make sure that the internal or external training providers supply pre-training assignments. Reading or thought-provoking exercises in advance of the session promote thoughtful consideration of the training content. Exercises or self-assessments, provided and scored in advance of the session, save precious training time for interaction and new information.

These ideas will engage the employee in thinking about the subject of the session prior to the training day. This supplies important paybacks in terms of his interest, commitment, and involvement.

4. Training for Managers, Too

Train supervisors and managers either first or simultaneously with the other employees so they know and understand the skills and information provided in the training session. This will allow the supervisor to model the appropriate behavior and learning, provide an environment in which the employee can apply the training, and create the clear expectation that she expects to see different behavior or thinking as a result of the training.

An executive, who has participated in the same training as the rest of the organization, is a powerful role model when he or she is observed applying the training on the job.

5.Train Managers About Their Role in the Training Process.

The average manager or supervisor has rarely experienced effective training during their career. Even rarer is the supervisor who has worked in an environment that maximized the transfer of training to the actual workplace. Thus it is a mistake to believe that supervisors automatically know what must happen for effective training to take place. They don't. You must make a commitment to make training transfer work by training your managers.

You can coach supervisors about their role. Provide a handy tip sheet that explains in detail the organization’s expectations of the supervisor in support of effective training. At one General Motors location, the education and training staff provided a three-hour class called, "The Organization and the Training Process." The session was most effective in communicating their roles and responsibilities to supervisory and management staff.

6. Ask Managers to Meet With Employees Before the Training

To accomplish all that is recommended in this article, meet with the employee prior to their attendance at the training session. Discuss with the individual what he hopes to learn in the session. Discuss any concerns he may have about applying the training in the work environment. Determine if key learning points are important for the organization in return for the investment of his time in the training. Identify any obstacles the employee may expect to experience as he transfers the training to the workplace.

The Bottom Line

If you effectively concentrate on providing these essential steps before sending employees to training, you enhance the probability that training will make a difference in your workplace. They reinforce the learning and help your employees become better able to apply the skills on the job. And, isn't that the goal of training and development activities?

More Tips for Effective Training Transfer to the Workplace