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As we approach the beginning of a new year, many companies are mapping out their employee training initiatives. Ironically, many companies overlook the direct link that training has on internal performance appraisals. For some reason, organizations automatically expect employees to know every aspect of good workplace behavior. They tend to assume that everyone understands the value of being on time, taking initiative, being friendly and producing high-quality work. Indeed, most do, but some allow their performance to slip through the cracks. This is one of the reasons training within the workplace is necessary.

With training, it is vital to think of the results you ultimately want to achieve. You must be able to articulate to a training facilitator what the real underlying purpose of the training will be and the impact it will have on performance. In the workspace learning is usually just a means to an end. By providing your employees with experience to become better workers. Do you just want better results in their performance or do you want them to grow within the company? Decide early on what is the intended outcome and who the audience is for this training.

Next, ask yourself, what should your employees’ future performance look like? What is their performance lacking presently? Their training should focus on changing their behavior, rather than just allowing them to gain information. Your selection of an appropriate trainer is essential to making that happen.

Many training sessions simply end up as knowledge dumps and can often be a waste of time for the employee. If you’re taking the time to provide education, make sure it’s beneficial to both you and your workers. Another question to ask yourself is where there are actually learning gaps and what other factors could be impacting performance. What are the key principles your employees need to grasp and accept in order to meet those performance requirements? They need to understand and take on these principles at an emotional level. The right trainer becomes instrumental in that success. Prior knowledge, skills and experience should be assessed before you embark on any training initiative. The right trainer can help guide you.

This is a particularly important point because those who are new to the workplace will need much more structured training and support than those who are more experienced. A good trainer should have a mixture of experience in working with all levels of experience.

However, the trainer’s abilities cannot be your only focus. Remember that your employees are human beings with aspirations and anxieties that you must pay attention to. This is why you need to know beforehand how motivated they are likely to be when it comes to the training. If motivation is high, a trainer will be able to jump right in. If it is low you should also ensure that you find a trainer who can build enthusiasm. You should also talk to your employees before the training begins to find out what they hope to gain from this experience. By making sure their needs (as well as your own) are being met, everyone will be satisfied.

Be mindful that different organizations, countries and generations have a range of learning cultures. A trainer needs to know what they are up against. The right training fit needs to understand what the expectations your employees have in terms of how they learn. Geography will also have an impact on selecting the right trainer. In larger organizations, the size of the target population matters. Companies that employ remote workers should focus on how they are distributed geographically because it can determine your options in terms of hiring trainers who are proficient with technology-based solutions.

Time is also a critical element. How long can your employees be available for learning? The right trainer should be able to respond to tight time constraints and not sell you the week-long training package.

In the end, a trainer should help your employees benefit from training without handicapping their ability to succeed in real-world settings. While making your selection, consider hiring someone who can develop a safe training setting where employees are not made to feel anxious or uncomfortable. Find someone who has the right cultural fit and the attitude.

I invite you to share your passions, experiences, thoughts, or comments. Contact me for more information on soft/interpersonal skills workshops that can transform employees.