How to Maximise Your Teams Training Experience (And Make It Worth Your Money)
It’s the umpteenth time you’ve been approached by a salesperson selling a training package or a team building programme. This time, you are slightly more convinced than you have been before and you are now wondering, “Should I sign my team up for their training and/or team building programme?”
Before you make the decision, ask yourself this – why join a training programme in the first place?
1. Improve your team’s performance.
When do you decide that your team needs to go through a training programme? Simple – when performance reviews or sales reports come back unfavourable. One of the most common reasons for sending employees to training programmes is that they want them to adopt some sort of improvement in their work routines. For example, in order to create a good rapport, sales training can improve person – to – person relations. From there, the marketing team and the sales team will be able to communicate the clients’ wants and needs effectively to ensure leads are being followed up on. The sales team will also be able to confirm the necessary details with the production team to ensure prompt delivery and items with no quality defects. Team building programmes, on the other hand, are great for teams with a problem communicating effectively, who are unable to work together because of differences in personalities and for those who are unable to differentiate between professional and emotional reactions when at work. Emotional reactions complicate workplace relationships. Imagine being on the company’s sales team and in pushing for a huge order to be done overnight, the production team lashes out or curses at you. This will affect your future dealings with them as well as their relationship with the rest of the sales team.
2. Different training programmes target different problems.
Training programmes and team building activities have grown in popularity. So much so that there is a training programme and provider for every issue. The different types of training programmes available? Sales training, technical skills development training, leadership training, and management training, soft skills training, IT training, and so on. Some training providers (ahem – like us at Sales Ninja) even customise training programmes to ensure that a) your team gets the most out of their experience within the programme and b) that the company has their concerns addressed without fluff and time wastage.
By tackling behavioural issues, teamwork and productivity is improved. By focusing on skillset, output is greater than before.
It is possible to separate team-building programmes into three categories. The first focuses on resolving conflict – for when your employees are pointing accusatory fingers at each other. Picture fighting with your significant other, then going for good food or a short trip and making up – and then returning to your usual surroundings only to fight again. Team buildings like these are not for fixing issues but for neutralising them and allowing your team to start again without the negative emotions built up. On the flip side, the second form of team building – which many companies ignore – is the one where a productive, cohesive team is encouraged to enjoy themselves with a trip or good food simply because the company wishes to reward them. This form of team building is just as important as the other two as this builds relationships and maintains the good rapport they already have. The last one is the one where your team, who might work well together and get along with each other but have lost their drive to succeed, works on reigniting their spark and brings back their fighting spirit – the motivational programme most companies will encounter. This type of team building is especially impactful for teams that are complacent –a reason they are not achieving their set targets. Due to their low morale, they might be resistant to change but “once they stop changing they will stop growing”.
3. Form of investment in your employees (also value added incentive to them).
Research has shown that employees view training programmes and team building activities as the company investing in them. Employees view this as the company stimulating and supporting their personal growth. In Malaysia itself, one of the top three factors that drive unhappiness is a lack of training opportunities (bad leadership and a lack of career advancement opportunities being the other two). When you put employees through training programmes, you are increasing your retention rate while increasing their happiness in the workplace. From an employee that doesn’t do his/her job well, training can evolve him/her into one that is competently skilled at doing their job. This employee can then evolve further into one that goes from compliant to a committed individual. The final evolution seems him/her starting to go the extra mile without prompt.
Nevertheless, after spending all that money, how do you ensure that your employees don’t fall back into the same bad habits? Don’t worry, we’ll ensure you maximise your team’s gain from the training programme – so long as you do these four things:
1. Choose the right type of training.
In a report by CSO Insights, findings demonstrated that companies involved in training programmes that exceeded expectations had a higher after-training performance rate (84.9%) compared to those whose programmes just met expectations (79.1%) or needed improvement (44.9%).
However, how do you decide which training programme would “exceed expectations”?
Simple – do your research. Acquire their track records, qualifications, testimonials – get a hold of this information and gauge their value.
Now that this is done, how do you decide which of their 58478 different programmes to go for?
Identify what your team needs! Where is the gap in their knowledge? Do they need to acquire new skills or do they need to build upon skills they already have? Can they do both? Does the type of training suit your company’s work culture? Can they cater to your large number of employees? On the flip side, does your group size fit their minimum requirements for an impactful programme? It is not about choosing the programme that “seems like the most fun” – choose one that will address your problems and your issues so that your employees improve and work towards what your company needs.
2. Create measures of change.
In the same way sales teams measure success by calculating profits brought in through sales deals closed, implement a method of measurement to monitor efficiency and the application of skillsets learned through the training programmes.
Are you having more team meetings? Are things getting done faster? Do you see that accountability is higher? Can you measure the increase in employee happiness? Do you observe them talking to each other nicely? Is there a defence of turf present?
There might be a simple change in daily KPIs needed or a whole new measurement process to introduce – whatever the case, ensure that employees are diligent in following the process. By accurately measuring changes in productivity and efficiency, you will be able to see what works well and what doesn’t. For new employees that might come in after the training has been done, you will have a sure-fire structure to follow and on-board them with – thus reducing the time it takes for a “buddy” or another employee to get them up to speed.
3. Follow up with the programme service providers and your employees.
Now that you’ve found a training provider who is able to accommodate your needs, how will they execute their programme to suit your output goals? It is important to take note of how the programme is structured (who knows, you might be able to replicate some of the activities should you need to in the future). Then, you will need to ask your employees what the take away was from the programme. If the programme is run for more than a day, get them to write a “What I’ve Learnt” report at the end of the day so that they have something to refer to should they forget. These records also contribute to your decision of how effective the programme is and if you would engage the services of the same training provider in the future.
4. Recurrence of training programmes.
Sales Ninja does a one day quarterly team building programme for its employees as well as a yearly trip to motivate and increase the bond of its employees. By formalising such events, employees will have something to look forward to. Sending your team to one training programme every 2 years does not guarantee lasting change. Not only that – systems, industry standards, procedures, skillset demand – these will change over time. Obviously, your company’s turnover rate might affect the effectivity of the training programme – although a programme that “exceeded expectations is reported to have a low annual turnover (11.9%)” so don’t worry too much as long as step 1 has been executed well. It is difficult to stay in touch with the times if your employees are unaware of what is expected of them outside the company. Being aware of external demands is just as important as internal demands.
Investing in your employees will not only lead to increased productivity, it will also build your employees’ loyalty and trust in the company. It is only fair to expect better engagement from them. However, it is also the company’s responsibility to ensure that this engagement is retained.
To resolve your team’s conflict, we have a Warrior programme to help you. If your team is not reaching its target – sign up for our Team Fighting Spirit programme. To build your group of employees into a team of productive individuals, we have a programme focused on unity. If you are looking for solutions to your problems – or better yet, if you feel like there is no way someone can assist you in repairing your teams performance, drop us a message and we will materialise the change you want to see in your team. We like challenges and we will challenge your uncertainty towards training programmes.