We have been listening.
We have been keeping our ears to the ground over here and there are a lot of agencies asking for help in one specific area… Staffing.
Not just one aspect of staffing, either. PHAs are facing all sorts of challenges ranging from training to implementing new workplace formats. That’s a wide range of information!
We never want to shortchange you. We always want to overdeliver so of course the thing to do is a… series! That’s right. A whole series to address your top 4 hot topics.
This week we are kicking things off with a hardcore how-to on training for excellence.
For starters, research is showing us a direct link between effective training, longevity, and low turnover rates. Definitely not a surprise to anyone. But let’s factor in that the pandemic created a new dynamic within our workplaces. Maybe a lot of your veterans have left OR you, like many others, have had an influx of new employees… you can see how training for excellence has become more important than ever.
Before we jump in, we want to take a minute to let you know that we understand a lot of this information is not going to be new or revolutionary. You already know how important good training is to the overall health and success of your agency. But what most people haven’t acknowledged is that PHAs are in survival mode. And when you hit survival mode, you do whatever you have to do to stay afloat. You check all the “good enough” boxes and push everything that isn’t absolutely necessary to the back burner to deal with later.
When it comes to staffing, this typically looks like abbreviated training in efforts to get more warm bodies producing. More hands mean less pressure on everyone else… or so we hope. But what this actually does is compound the complications. People who aren’t properly trained will inevitably make mistakes that will become the burden of someone with more experience.
We want to help you cultivate strong teams able to take on any challenge. Excellent training produces excellent results. And we have the steps to help you accomplish that:
These 4 steps will help you train your staff effectively and get the results you need. Let’s start with the first one.
Step 1: Assessment
Assessing your training needs, the resources you have to meet those needs, and then assessing who is being trained is a great place to start.
We all know we need effective training for brand new employees, but that is not where training ends. To get a big picture of all of your training needs we recommend doing some sort of gap analysis that will provide you with data that will point to the areas where you need to target training. We love a good quality control review, and this is just another scenario where QC is the answer.
Once you have a clear overview of the specific areas where you need to create training strategies, you need to determine what is needed to address those. Is it a workshop, a multiple day extensive training, or maybe a webinar or an online class will do the trick. Is it something your agency already has in its toolbox or is it something you will need to build or possibly outsource?
Remember, training for excellence is more than just giving your staff a copy of the employee handbook. It is a significant investment. But it pays for itself over and over when it’s done right.
If you really want to maximize your training efforts, start off by assessing WHO is being trained. Determining learning styles, behavioral profile, and personality types is the key that unlocks the potential in each person. There are so many great tools available to assess your new hires and existing staff and doing so as part of training has many benefits:
- Helps you to develop effective trainings
- Allows people to occupy spaces where they can use their natural gifts and abilities
- Fills gaps
And as a result, your entire agency is elevated into a stronger, high performing, high quality organization.
This is the perfect segway into our next point…
Step 2: Motivation
Both the trainees and the trainers have to be motivated if you want to produce excellence. Simply making it mandatory isn’t going to do that.
Trainees have to be motivated to absorb and wield the information they are given.
Trainers have to be motivated to provide effective and high-quality training.
Some of the best ways to inspire and motivate are:
- Make it social – Trainings where both students and trainers are actively engaged with one another produce the best results. Attendees are more likely to participate, they are more likely to retain the information, and then are more likely to pursue further training.
- Provide support – Creating a built-in support network can make all the difference when we are talking about successful results. One of the best ways to do this is to have mentors available to all trainees. A good mentor will be team members who have been through the training successfully, who are high performers, and who have a bent for mentorship, training, or connection. Once you can identify those people you can form a strong team with a heart for seeing others succeed
- Incentives – When it comes to motivation, there really is no substitute for good old-fashioned incentives. Whether it is a prize, free lunch, or even a possible promotion opportunity or other financial incentive, your team needs to know they are valuable. Life continues to get busier and busier, and you might be hard-pressed to get people to take on something extra unless they know the trade-off is worth it.
Step 3: Delivery
Plainly put, no one is going to care what you have to say if you can’t present the information in a way that makes it relevant and useful.
Not everyone learns the same way, so you want to make sure every training utilizes the 4 main learning styles of visual, auditory, read/write, and hands-on in some way. Make your trainings visually interesting, interactive, and engaging. Weed through until you find that one person who can deliver the information with that special something that makes people connect and pay attention. Provide additional resources as you move through the information.
Keep these strategies in mind:
- Connect the information to how it relates to the trainees
- Integrate interactive elements and learning activities
- Ask for feedback and then…
- Make adjustments to address any gaps or negative patterns
Step 4: Evaluation
And lastly, evaluate your people. Make sure each training has regular knowledge checks built in throughout and then a method of “certification” at the end.
Knowledge checks throughout the training will help you to make sure everyone is keeping up with the information. You want to make sure you are addressing questions, confusion, or difficulties as they come up and not just barreling ahead. This is also great for tracking any patterns within the training itself. If each time half of the training class has trouble with the same area, then it shows you where you need to make adjustments within the training to better address that information.
A final evaluation is also necessary. Whether this is a more formal exam, or a hands-on assessment, you want to make sure each student is ready to maximize on the training they just received.
We aren’t training for the purpose of making sure people pass the training. We are training with a higher purpose… to build a strong, high-performing team. To change the narrative of the stigmas surrounding our agencies and our programs. And to set excellence as our standard for all we do.