The Trainer, The Participant and the Manager Walk Into a Meeting…

The Trainer, The Participant and the Manager Walk Into a Meeting… image threeemployeesThe Trainer, The Manager and the ParticipantWhen it comes to a training event, who matters most, and when? More specifically, who provides the biggest influence on the outcome of the training for The Participant? Is it The Trainer… The Manager… or The Participant? Most folks would say The Trainer has the most impact on the session since he provides new information and suggests methods of activity for The Participant to take on. Others might say the answer is The Participant, because the outcome of training comes from how she listens, interacts, and retains what she learns in that session.

Surprising to many, the most honest answer is The Manager. While The Trainer and The Participant play equally important roles in this situation, The Manager is the most important factor, both before and after the training, when it comes to influencing the outcome. For instance, The Manager:

  • Usually makes the decision on the training investment;
  • Delegates employee participation in training, assessing employee needs, team objectives and company goals;
  • Works with The Trainer to prep for any customized information, to assist in making training more relevant for The Participant;
  • Helps The Trainer understand what outcome The Participants need to work toward after attending the training session;
  • Prepares The Participants with a briefing of the training session, outlining goals and the purpose of training; and finally,
  • Follows The Participants’ work after training to assess retention and measure their achievements based on goals set prior to training.

Turns out, you are The Manager. How can you leverage this knowledge, knowing you hold the most influence pre– and post-training? How can you use this insight to work with the Participants and stimulate the greatest outcome from training? Here are three tips on how to improve return on a training investment:

1. Set expectations before the training. Let your attendees know what to expect. What are goals for the training? Have 2– 3 defined goals for your employee going into the training that you want them to address in the training. Let them know that you will follow up with them. Find out what they want to get out of the training. Make sure their goals and your goals align prior to the training so there is a solid understanding and communication toward the outcome.

2. Set a follow up meeting. In a post-training meeting, ask The Participant to report on the activities that revolved around the 2–3 goals set before the session. Ask him for his top take-aways from the session: How will he leverage that information to change and improve his performance?

3. Reinforcement and coaching. A single training event won’t change much in your organization. However, a single event combined with coaching and reinforcement can change the organization. This is the forgotten element of most training programs, and why many training initiatives fail. Before you plan your training event, plan how you will coach and bolster the learning to build new behaviors, attitudes and knowledge to affect the results of the organization.

Using these three steps will result in improved outcomes from your training investment. By having goals, meeting to review them before and after the session, and coaching to the program’s information, you can make positive changes to your organization’s results.

Inspired by “Transfer of Training,” From Broad, M.L. & Newstrom, J.W. (1992). Philadelphia, PA: Perseus Publishing.

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