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Best Training Practices
Will Kenny
3927 York Ave N
Robbinsdale, MN 55422

Leverage Your Self-Service Options

look for ways to recycle effort and save time and cost

(reprinted from The Training Tipsheet)

Old enough to remember when an attendant put gasoline in your car for you? When most stations went to self-service, what impact do you think that had on their labor costs?

Your bank tells you what a wonderful thing it will be for the environment if you stop getting paper statements and just have them send you an e-mail when your online statement is ready. Environment, shmenvironment, paperless statements save them a bundle, and they are looking after their profits.

If your training department continues to struggle for resources -- and many will, as the recovery proceeds very slowly and most companies take a cautious approach, especially to training and HR expenses -- have you looked at ways to provide more self-service options?

Oh, certainly there are many functions that only your staff can perform. But perhaps there are areas surrounding the actual training you deliver -- some of the preparation and planning, some of the follow up -- that your "internal customers" could do for themselves.

Examine the way you work with those customers and see if there are common patterns. Formalizing those patterns into standard processes, and making those processes available to your customers through, say, your corporate intranet, could make everyone more efficient.

For example, when a department or manager in your organization explores training help, you probably go through a fairly conventional routine of information gathering: What is the training need? How many participants? Where are they located? Providing a downloadable form they can use to put together a training request will save them, and you, time (and personnel costs) going through information they could easily assemble themselves. What's more, if your training requests are received in a standard format, examining them for completeness and responding to them will be more efficient as well.

Similarly, evaluations can be conducted as online surveys, instead of as classroom activities. Standard follow up e-mails to the managers of participants can be written in advance, with a couple of blanks, and sent out by administrative staff.

And, of course, a lot of print materials for participants can be made available on-line, from pre-tests to homework assignments to reference materials. At the same time, tips and "FAQ" pages can help address the most common issues that come up in your work.

What works for you, naturally, will be unique to your company, to your relationships with your internal customers, and to the strengths, and typical processes, of your training department. I can't tell you what you need, or how far you can go.

But there's a pretty good chance you can go farther than you have so far, with savings for your department, and for other departments, while actually streamlining service. Take a creative approach to providing self-service options, and everyone can benefit.

© 2011 Best Training Practices -- Will Kenny

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