So your company policy is to train your staff in-house? It’s a good system, with many advantages for both you and your staff. You’ve probably gone to a lot of effort in the past, analysing training needs, developing or buying in courses, and delivering them across the board.
However, what was pertinent and effective several years ago may not be working well now. Industry changes at an alarming rate, and business has to learn to keep up in all aspects, including training.
When did you last analyse your in-house training scheme? Is it still effective? Are you observing your staff for signs that it is still beneficial, or are they subconsciously telling you that you are currently barking up the wrong tree when it comes to your training provision?
To help you assess whether your current system is still as fresh as a daisy, or as stale as a five day piece of bread, start learning to look for the signs that all is not well on the home front.
Watch the body
If you are delivering courses, take the time to observe the body language of your delegates. A motivated crowd should be watching you attentively, and perhaps scribbling madly in their notebooks. They may lean forward in an attempt to grasp your every word, with eyes that clearly demonstrate interest.
On the other hand, if your staff are stretched out in their seats, leaning back, staring out the window, notebook sitting forlornly by their side, you are in trouble. Couple this with constant yawning, whispered conversations with their neighbours, fiddling with phones (some may even chance their luck and quietly plug in head phones), or even the odd snore from the back, and you know you have got to take drastic action.
The proof is in the pudding
There is always a reason for staff training, which is ultimately to improve performance and your profit margin. Following successful training you should see signs that staff are working more efficiently and are more productive and motivated. If this is not happening, then your training is a waste of time.
Bums on seats
Some in-house training may be compulsory, such as health and safety training, or learning how to use new internal systems; but other courses or seminars may be optional. If you run these courses on a regular basis, monitor your attendance rates. If they start to drop off, it may have something to do with the quality and content of your course, or it could be down to delivery. Whatever the reason, it is usually a sign your training has gone stale.
If your courses actively encourage audience participation and engagement, this is another method of judging the effectiveness of your training. There is nothing more de-motivating than asking a question that no one responds to. It becomes a memorable tumbleweed moment as you plead for anyone to contribute. A motivated crowd should be interested and fully engaged in your presentation, and clamouring to be heard. If you find your training sessions suffering from this syndrome, it is in need of a major shake-up.
Dragging it out
Some in-house training takes the form of course work and completing set tasks. If your staff seem to be dragging their feet to complete their paperwork, it may be a sign that they find the course boring and un-stimulating. Assess your coursework and tweak as necessary.
There are many reasons why your staff feel your in-house training has become stale. If the signs are there that this is the case, you need to address the situation in order to produce effective training channels. Whether you completely revamp your training materials, introduce some external courses, or implement a reward scheme for successful completion – the decision is up to you; what matters most is recognising the signs and taking action before you waste any more of your training budget.