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5 keys to successful training

Five keys to successfully train your staff, regardless of their learning style.

Training takes time and needs to be done in a way that enables people with different learning styles to understand. You need to incorporate different forms of communication as you train. For example, you can try a combination of video, audio or written formats.

The following are five keys to successfully train your staff, regardless of their learning style.

1. ‘Hire for attitude, train for skill.’ That’s a quote from author and management guru, Tom Peters. It is my experience that trying to change the personality or attitude of an individual is challenging, if not impossible in most cases. You need to employ people with the right attitude and personality; the skills can be taught.

2. Slow down to speed up. This seems counterintuitive for most business owners, as they are trying to speed up and get more done each day. However, trying to teach too many things at once will inevitably lead to failure and cost you more time and money in the long run. Train your people in one to two skills at a time, allow them to practice to the point they can complete the task to 70-80 per cent as well as you can. Then move on to the next skill.

3. Check in on progress.

Most training in organisations is done once, with very little ongoing support and follow-up. Whenever you train a new skill, you need to plan multiple check-in points to assess how well that person is executing the new skill, and provide additional training and support as necessary. New skills don’t become happen overnight. They require practice and refinement. The first 60 to 90 days after the initial training are the most critical. Plan for weekly check-ins, so you can assess and refine the skills. Remember, it’s not practice that makes perfect - it’s perfect practice that makes perfect!

4. Implement a simple scoreboard. ‘What gets measured gets done.’ In order to speed up the process of your staff learning and integrating a new skill, you must measure the results of the application of that skill. Simple measures, such as ‘time to complete task’ or ‘percentage compliance to the system’ are easy to implement.

5. Measure progress.

If you do all of the above, you should be able to observe the person learning the new skills improve as they become more confident and the new skill becomes second nature. If you are not seeing incremental improvement, then you need to assess your training (content and method) and the amount of support you are providing to reinforce the new skill.

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