Since the start of my career over 25 years ago, I notice a recurring problem with every job I held.
The initial training was done very poorly if at all.
In my early days, I placed the onus of training on my supervisors.
Looking at it today, I will concede, when new in a the leadership role, I did not do a great job on this front as well.
Moreover, after a substantial amount of validation, I found that a lot of staff mistakes could be linked to a lack of or poor training.
Additionally, in my youth, I did not realize how important a good routine was towards consistent performance. I was working in a reactive posture, taking care of what waseither thrown at me or was in front of me.
Fast forward two decades, I have developed some important perspectives on training and developing a good routine that I am happy to share with anyone who is interested.
First, when training, we need to create a healthy learning environment where mistakes are ok and accepted and not punished. This will enable people to learn from missteps, byasking questions, be more engaged and even have some fun in the process.
We need to relay that learning will expand their knowledge and practicing what is shown is vital.
A recent estimate I saw suggested 90% of training is a waste of time simply because the training was not applied and practiced in a timely manner. I have witnessed this myself more than I wish to say.
Consider developing a standard phrase said at the beginning of each session by all trainers. This would be healthy.
For example, “we expect you all to make mistakes, we all do and that is amazing as we will share and learn from them.”
Before retraining existing staff, we might consider an anonymous test to evaluate what the current staff know and don’t know and have “don’t know or not sure” as an answer possibility. This would be healthy and productive.
This simple element can have several uses.
It can show us where to concentrate, what we might not need to spend time on, show people what they know and don’t and what they know and don’t relative to others without mentioning names. This might work to establish more openness to recognize the need for training.
For long-term staff, if we have videos, we might consider letting them see the video before we do any retraining. This would be healthy.
Try and keep the training sessions short and teach things in one element at a time.
If sessions last longer, there needs to be frequent breaks, 5 to 10 minutes every hour.
Otherwise, the marginal rate of learning, kicks in. At some point, nothing resonates if someone is too tired to listen and absorb.
We need to ask ourselves in the training, who does most of the talking?
“I am the expert, I speak, you listen.” Is this what we really want?
Ideally, the trainer talks, the student talks. We need the student to cooperate in the training, not just passively receive information overload.
Instead of starting with a heavy agenda, try starting with the take-aways. You can start with a story. Start with a picture that engages the student.
Moreover, we need to stress the “why” behind the “how” of what we are teaching. Without a compelling “why” the “how” is just mechanical or transactional.
Questions (Q) are always good.
Q. We can ask the student if they think this procedure is low risk or high risk and have them note high risk procedures, ones that have consequences if not done correctly.
Q. We can ask the student what they thought was the most important aspect or part of what they were just shown.
Q. We can ask the student what they think might be a problem with what they were just shown or what problems might arise.
Q. We can ask if they see a potential short-cut that could be taken and stress not to take it.
The model we might want to consider is teach, ask a question, teach, ask a question and repeat.
If the teacher does not get a question or gets a blank face, they might need to teach it again.
Q. We might ask the student to identify the process in one word or one sentence.
Q. We might ask the student directly, what would be the best way to ensure we know anyone knows the process well.
We might have the teacher relay that the student can use physical signs like thumbs-up if they get it, thumbs-down if they don’t. Hand up for stopping and repeating so they know itis ok and there is constant validation of the knowledge transfer.
Q. On a scale of 1 to 10, how confident do you feel about doing this task now?
Q. Can you think of an image or phrase to describe this technique, write it in your notes or draw it.
We might ask to look at the students notes, to see what they see as important or see their highlighted segments on our pre-printed handouts.
We can promote the use of a STAR or IMPORTANT notation.
We should promote the use of a running list that will contribute to their daily routine list and the use of checklists for important processes and critical steps.
We can look at using Process Order Card Games. “Place the cards with the steps decribed in the proper process order.”
We can say phrases and use a “True or False game.”
Q. Do you feel comfortable to teach this to someone else?
Q. What challenged you the most?
Q. What did you learn that you liked the most or what are you most interested in doing and trying?
We can ask newly trained staff to teach what they know best to new staff or even ask experienced staff to teach what they know best to new staff.
We need to understand that for some people, learning new things is tiring and even frustrating.
We might offer long-term staff the option of being trained in pairs of their choice or in small groups. This might be more healthy for them so they are not insulted at the idea thatthey need training after many years of service.
For those that say they already know how to do it and don’t need training, we can ask them to demonstrate and then they might not need to go through the regular retraining.
When presenting something completely new, we might consider presenting something known and comfortable first and at the end. Easy, hard then easy. The easy win will reinforce confidence.
We might move daily routine activities not liked to the start of the day with activities liked or preferred at the end of the day. It is always good to end the day with something you like.
Overall, you might need to look at 4 or 5 KEYSTONE processes to training. No one can learn more than a few new things at a time.
Ask yourself what are the 4 or 5 things that really matter and have people excel at less instead of trying to do more and doing it all mediocre.
Theses ideas and questions I have listed above have come to me in the last decade.
I hope you might find some use from them as I have.
As I always say, learning is 4 life.