Friday, March 16, 2012

Extend the Benefits of Training

Training is guided evolution. Or at least, it should be. If you treat training workshops as stand-alone events, you’re wasting opportunity and settling for less than you should. With a little bit of forethought and strategic communication, a stand-alone training event becomes one of many leverage points on a performance continuum. Considering the time and money you spend on employee training, don’t you want to extend the benefits 30, 60, 90+ days out?

You can, and here’s how:
• Hone your planning with a pre-event survey. Ask participants to weigh in on their first (and last) choice for venue, format, training exercises, menu, etc. By inviting their opinion in advance you set a tone and build rapport before the training begins. is a free tool for creating online surveys in minutes.
• Bolster participation by sharing workshop outlines in advance. Using email, batch text, or the company intranet, ask participants to "prepare to share" in order to ensure a productive session.
• Sharing a top-line overview of learning objectives and performance expectations is a great way to capture participant attention and build interest prior to the workshop.
• Tease upcoming training events in your company newsletter, with an email or text campaign, and on your website.
• Establish an event theme, and weave themed imagery into your writing to open attendees' minds and spark their creativity well before the training takes place.

After the workshop, improve retention of key learning and promote positive behavioral change with strategic follow up written communication:
• Survey participants to find out what aspect of the training was most (and least) challenging/relevant/helpful/interesting to them. Garner suggestions for future events.
• Conduct a post-training email campaign to reinforce key learning.
• Email or text success stories and best practices weekly, along with a specific strategy to execute in the week ahead.
• Use your company newsletter and web site to celebrate success stories. Write as specifically as possible about how the training workshop or strategy meeting contributed to the success.

Sally Bacchetta
Onwords™ column
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