It’s easy when you have a new employee starting and you have an orientation schedule for a new sales person or recruiter. The goal is to ramp them up for success as quick as possible. You have this person start from the beginning, learning each internal process and procedure, and then sprinkle in some outside training sources that add variety and promote skills for increased performance. But, how do you incorporate training with existing employees?
When you create your training plan, think about your desired outcome and your business goals. Why are you training your existing employees? What are you trying to achieve with the training? What metrics are pointing to the need for training? Many companies do training for the sake of training, which leaves them disappointed. Learning and development is a continual process. You want employees to gain information and apply that to their work for greater performance. Do your staff need broad training on all the steps in the sales process, or is the need focused only on prospecting and closing the sale?
With existing employees, you need their buy-in first, so they are not resistant to training. Consider soliciting input in creating the training plan from a couple of key employees at multiple levels. Be transparent about why you’re starting this new training initiative. Is it reactive or proactive; what are your objectives; and what’s in it for them? Ensure the training isn’t a waste of time and money, and is valued by employees.
Realistically think about your existing staff’s availability to complete training. You may get resistance to an aggressive schedule with existing team members, because they are entrenched in daily duties. Is it realistic to have an employee doing three 1-hour online training courses every week, when they likely are already working 45-50 hours a week? You might consider expecting them to complete one (1) online course per week, or even a month!
Consider how you are going to deliver the training, in a group or an individual approach. For group training, you could coordinate on-site training, or show a webinar or online course to a group of employees at the same time. Or, you could have a group of staff complete the same online course in the same time frame. Discuss the course at your next group meeting. Ask questions like, ‘What were your top three takeaways from the training?’, or ‘What have you (or can you) applied to your work?’. Give your questions to your team prior to them taking the online course, so they can prepare for the discussion and bring meaningful comments to the group.
Along the same lines as above, you can approach it individually. Assign an online class to your individual team member. Then, discuss the class at your next one-on-one meeting. You may have your employee go through all of the training on one topic, like the full recruiting or sales package, over a reasonable period of time considering their daily workload. Or, you can select one-off courses that you feel may be most beneficial for an individual depending on areas they need to focus for greatest individual development.
Regardless of your approach, I would highly suggest providing coaching support to reinforce the training. You can do group coaching or individual. Again, it’s the discussion and coaching that encourages employees to apply what they’ve heard in the training to their work for real development. Here is another article on the topic which goes into more detail.
Get the most out of your training. Create a plan with a defined outcome, that your employees are excited about, and that reinforces applying new skills for increased performance. Happy learning!