4 training methods to best develop your employees19 Mar 2019
High performers are 400 per cent more productive than average employees, according to a study covering 600,000 researchers, entertainers, politicians and athletes. Published in the Personal Psychology journal, the results of this research show just how vital well-developed employees are to your business.
However, I believe it’s important to note that this doesn’t just mean focusing on your hiring methods. Similar to nature versus nurture, the culture within your workplace influences whether your employees become high-performers. Do you offer them the right opportunities for development?
Here are four training methods to use to develop your staff.
1. Provide regular and constructive feedback
Feedback is one of the simplest tools for developing employees. There’s no cost, the time involved is minimal and you need only pay attention to their performance to provide it.
Yet I find it’s often underutilised. I know managers who specifically leave feedback for review meetings that might happen once a year. They don’t realise they’re missing out on a great training method that they can use constantly, to guide and develop their employees. Or, even worse, the feedback they do provide is negative or disapproving. This is more likely to discourage staff and limit their growth rather than improve it.
When providing feedback, here are a few things you should consider:
- Is it constructive? Even if the feedback is in an area the individual isn’t doing well in, your message should show them how they can grow and where they’re already heading in the right direction. Don’t present them with a dead end. Give them a path to follow.
- How regularly are you giving it? The more often you let them know how they’re going, the more confidence they’ll have that they’re progressing in the right direction.
- Is it honest? Limiting your praise, or pretending someone is doing better than they are, produces nothing productive. People can’t learn unless they know what they need to work on.
- Does it have a strong basis? Don’t give hollow praise. Along with your feedback provide solid examples as often as possible to demonstrate the point you’re making.
2. Co-create personalised development plans
Departmental training is a great way to mass upskill. However, if you want your employees really engaged in their learning, personalise it.
A friend of mine ran a highly successful team within a business once. When I asked him how he’d found and snagged so many talented staff he admitted that he hadn’t – he’d simply figured out what drove each person and used that to help create a long-term development plan with them. Together they’d set up performance targets, decided on which training methods to use and regularly caught up to discuss progress.
They still participated in team training, however individual development complemented these sessions. My friend had to invest more time and effort into working out the right training method for each person, but the results talked for themselves. His employees felt recognised, motivated and invested in their work. Having their own goals to work towards meant that they put in more effort, causing their development to sky rocket.
Take the time to talk with your staff about their training. Are there particular skills they want to develop? What about goals that they want to achieve? Remember to consider how everybody learns differently as well. While one employee may prefer computer-based training, for another role play might cause the information to sink in better. Work with your employees to build a development plan suited to them.
3. Invest in continuous training
Make learning part of your business’ culture. One of the best training methods to use to develop your staff is simply ensuring you’re making training a continuous process.
Create regular training sessions. You can use a mixture of internal and external trainers for these. Set relevant and achievable quarterly goals to give you and your employees something to measure their development against. It will also help demonstrate what each staff member is contributing to the business, helping them see the meaning in their job and grow their confidence.
Quarterly goals also allow enough time for your employees to implement new methods and achieve their aims, while ensuring you can regularly review how they’re developing. If something isn’t working you can adjust the training sessions to ensure employees are getting the best possible development out of them.
It’s hard to replace hands-on training and mentorship is one of the best methods to deliver it. Leaders within a company have a great opportunity to take their staff under their wing and nurture their development. By encouraging your management teams to do this you’re engaging a powerful training tool.
My own personal experience has given me a lot of respect for this training method. I was fortunate enough to have an incredible mentor within an earlier role. The focused one-on-one time with him was irreplaceable for my development. It gave me immediate feedback, insight into the path I wanted to follow and someone who knew the challenges I faced because they’d already gone through them.
As a manager or leader within your business, you have essential knowledge you can pass on that will help develop your employees.
If you’d like to know more about how ICML can support your employees’ growth and development, get in touch today. We can help you build the right training methods for your staff into your business processes.