Commitment To Training

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Having the right attitude is key to getting more from training

Thursday, June 1, 2017 - 07:00
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If you were told that you could get more from training and get it for free, would you want to do it? Of course, why not? For most of us training, learning and continued education has a significant cost. We invest not only money, but also time, energy and hopefully effort. Why not get a little more for free?

Quick disclaimer: I am a lifelong student, and still attend classes, training and other learning opportunities in both my business and personal life. I am also an I-CAR instructor, so I have seen some of the best students from the industry come through my classes and some of the others as well.

In general, I have two types of students coming to I-CAR classes: The “I get to be here” folks and the “I have to be here” folks. There is a significant difference.

First, the “I get to be here” folks. They show up on time, usually a few minutes early, perhaps a little tired after a full day of work. They know why they are there, what class they are attending and what is expected of them. They almost always leave with the provided materials, ask questions and participate in the class.

Then we have the “I have to be here” folks. They may also be tired, and arrive within minutes of the time set to start the class, or are late. Their first questions are often: “How long is this class?” “What is this class about?” and “Why do I have to take this class?” They are more likely to leave the provided class materials behind, and will often participate only if coaxed.

So let’s get to the getting more for free part. Imagine reminding your technicians about a class (required or not) that they have been chosen to attend. Do not say, “Here is a class that I have scheduled for you and you have to attend it.” Rather, imagine telling that employee, “Let me know what you think of this class. I am interested in your feedback.”

Imagine asking the employee(s) to come back after the class and offer a couple of minutes debriefing on the class with their workmates or team, perhaps in a weekly production or safety meeting.

This doesn’t need to be hard or added work. For most classes there are handouts or worksheets that attendees can refer to later. Doesn’t this make a clear statement that you not only value learning and training, but also value that employee and value their opinion? Could this perhaps let the employee know in advance that there is more to training than just attending classes?

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It does make a difference when a supervisor says, “You have to go to this class,” verses, “Here is a class that should help all of us. I am interested in your feedback.” It does make a difference when an employee is asked to share what they have learned. They listen just a little bit more; they participate just a little bit more. And I believe they retain just a little bit more.

Employees who feel valued tend to perform better, have better attitudes and accept responsibility. According to a study done by the American Psychological Association, “Half of all employees who say that they do not feel valued at work report that they intend to look for a new job in the next year.” The study when on to say: “Employees who feel valued are more likely to report better physical and mental health, as well as higher levels of engagement, satisfaction and motivation, compared to those who do not feel valued by their employers.”

Was this just a rant from an instructor? Or a couple simple ideas to enhance the learning experience?

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