Karin Wellman, co-founder and director of TomorrowTraining, asks, “Who is training your trainers?” Trainers and those in charge of the development of other staff members are often neglected as recipients of training and development themselves. Karin highlights this as a critical problem for businesses today, and suggests a solution.
Who’s looking after them?
By Karin Wellman
Hereâ€™s a question for you:
Which do you think is the most under-developed department in your organisation?
The tragedy facing most organisations is that the department in question is more often than not the same department responsible for the continuous development of, and skills provision for the rest of the organisation.
The training department of any organisation plays an essential role in increasing the productivity and success of the organisation as a whole. Training has fast become an industry in its own right, and high standards are expected of the trainers themselves, the quality and effectiveness of their training and their training material, as well as of the processes and procedures of the departments offering the training.
Those who offer training as part of the successful implementation of a new product of service are fully aware that the training department is as important as the customer service department in ensuring client satisfaction. In many cases, this department is also responsible for the induction of new employees and ongoing employee training.
It is therefore ironic that it is this very department or team that is so often neglected as far as investment into development and productivity is concerned. Trainers are often highly fatigued, unmotivated, and at risk of losing the passion that drives them, because they do not receive sufficient skills training and opportunities for growth. Too often, they spend too much time at the front of the classroom, yet never able to participate as learners. This can easily pass unnoticed within an organisation and the decreasing effectiveness of a training department can have a severe effect on client and staff retention and satisfaction.
We believe in an integrated process to enhance the effectiveness of any training team to ensure that trainers and training material are used to their full potential within a supportive and collaborative training environment. There are five areas which provide the focus for this development process:
Continuous learning and self-development is crucial to advancing the effectiveness of any individual trainer. Unlike other industries, this learning is not readily available, and the responsibility lies with the trainer, the training department and the organisation to ensure that skills are constantly being improved.
Developmental opportunities for trainers are scarce. One of the most effective means to growth and development lies in the observation of other trainers. In order to achieve this, it is crucial that an environment of peer observation and support is created and sustained within the training department.
We believe that it is the role of the training team to support and assist in the development of each of its individual members. As such, it is essential that opportunities exist for the team to come together to share ideas, successes and areas for improvement. We refer to such meetings as debriefing sessions. It is crucial that each team member is given the opportunity to lead one of these sessions on a regular basis, as they then select the theme for the session.
Training material should be continuously undergoing assessment, with a view to improved interaction and participation. We believe that each training team should be actively building a bank of supplementary materials which is available at all times to the team.
Assessment of departmental processes
Unfortunately training does not only involve the delivery of material, but relies on effective administration and scheduling. These processes are often neglected, or outdated, resulting in the danger of burnout or â€˜training fatigueâ€™. TomorrowTraining is passionate about the advancement of the training industry, and all those whose work within it. We ask you again to take a long, hard look at your training division: who is looking after them?
For more information on Tomorrow Trainingâ€™s Increased Training Effectiveness interventions, we welcome you to contact us.
Thanks Karin for a great article. As a trainer myself, I was challenged by what you wrote and once again encouraged to keep the balance right and ensure that I am continually growing myself. Working within a relatively small organization, as THE trainer, I am ever aware of the need to keep developing myself, particularly so that I can more effectively grow those I serve.
Three challenges emerge as I think about this need for ongoing growth: (1) time and (2) people who can grow with and (3) ongoing honest feedback. One major impediment to successful personal growth in any context is not having enough people speaking honestly into one’s life.
Lastly, in the training realm, I have realized that people themselves need to want to learn something for effective learning to take place. The challenge for the trainer is to have this sort of hunger for ongoing development.