Many businesses today choose to provide new employees with formal training before allowing them to assume their new responsibilities. Over the last couple of decades, many training departments have begun to also offer refresher training to long time employees as well. When managing a training department, there are several key factors to always keep in mind if the training program is to remain relevant, factual, and capable of empowering employees to be effective on the job.
Know the business. This involves understanding the mission statement of the company, how the operations process works and what goods and services are offered to customers. Every new employee needs to understand these basics, and the training department is where they first acquire this knowledge.
Keep all trainers up to date on current programs, procedures, and events affecting the company. Data of this type will often have an impact on how trainers present the basics to new employees, as well as allow them to place less emphasis on policies that are being discontinued and spotlight policies that are about to be in force.
Allow open communication with all members of the team. Trainers are the first line of defense when it comes to turning out knowledgeable and competent employees. They often make observations that can help to enhance the overall training approach and program. Actively encouraging trainers to share critiques of the current training materials and program, as well as offer suggestions for improvement, involves everyone in the task of being successful.
Review training materials regularly. Things change even in the most conservative of companies. Training materials and procedures that were great a couple of years ago may be less effective now. Keeping the materials fresh will also make it harder for trainers to get into a rut with their presentations.
Encourage feedback on each training session. What is working and what is not? What specific issues arose with students in the latest class, and how were those issues addressed? This continual process of evaluating the dynamics within training sessions helps to broaden the collective experience of the entire department.
Always assume there is something more to learn. Managers are accountable for how a program functions, but they are not omnipotent. When a manager realizes this and is open to learning from other members of the team, the opportunities to cultivate a positive atmosphere with the department are greatly enhanced.
Good managers know how to show appreciation for hard work. At the same time, a good manager knows how to call attention to below par efforts and still motivate individuals to improve their skill sets.
Never allow yourself to become disconnected from the overall function of the training effort and simply be the person who okays overtime and conducts periodic performance reviews. Being remote hurts the entire training department, and as a result minimizes the chance that a new employee will be properly equipped for his or her work responsibilities.