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

Start a Library

"productize" some of the help you offer your internal clients

(reprinted from The Training Tipsheet)

If you're in the training business, formally or informally, you have probably visited the web sites of external training consultants. (After all, the survey data I reported on recently indicated that most organizations get some of their training needs met through outside help.)

At some of these sites, you have probably found helpful free information. They might offer articles you can download that provide useful advice on various issues. They might have simple tools or forms you can use for planning, or questions and activities that can aid discussions. Whatever they offered, you probably paid a little more attention to those consultants who offered something of value, at no charge (or at the cost of an e-mail address).

Now, many training functions serve as internal consultants to their organizations. So where is your free library of tools and advice? What can other units in your company get from you without talking to you on the phone or coming to your office?

We have to remember that much of the training in any organization is conceived and delivered by supervisors and managers who are not, themselves, training professionals. Some of this is relatively informal coaching, ongoing communications, staff meeting topics, and so on. In other cases, they formally develop activities, resources, and structures that they use regularly with new staff, or when problems arise, or in periodic "refreshers" to keep everyone on the right track.

Wouldn't they welcome a little help? Certainly. But for many of the activities at this level, it is hard for them, and for the training staff, to free up the time to meet, discuss options, and trade ideas.

So why not deliver some of what you know, internally, in a self-serve mode? Your experience in training allows you to boil down many bits of advice into small units, nuggets of content that could help managers and supervisors avoid common mistakes and enhance the effectiveness of their own training activities.

It's as simple as writing up a few short documents and posting them on your company intranet. You might cover the aforementioned common mistakes; give pointers on promoting discussion in training activities; provide icebreakers and other activities, especially for new staff; offer simple forms to help with planning, evaluation, and other aspects of training; suggest ways to follow up, after training, for better application of learning; and deliver some coaching on setting objectives and measuring results.

When staff in other areas of your organization can go to your web page and quickly find helpful tips they can download, there are benefits at several levels:

  • Everyone in the company, including your training department and all the functions you serve, saves time and money by eliminating some meetings and getting a quicker start. A lot less time is spent explaining the same basic ideas over and over.
  • Small units and one-time training activities receive support they might never get if they had to get in-person consulting time from your department.
  • Response time is excellent, so that a unit with a sudden need can get "just in time" help with the basics.
  • Knowledge of basic training practices becomes more widespread in your organization, meaning that the time you do spend consulting with other functions is more productive. You come into the conversation at a higher level.
  • Your perceived value goes up, among the users of your materials. Managers and supervisors who may never have had a reason to deal with you or your staff appreciate the help they receive, and the convenience of it. They will be more receptive to your ideas in the future because they have benefited from your services already.

Creating a "library piece" is a one-time effort that pays dividends for a long time. Why not get started on building your library now?

© 2009 Best Training Practices -- Will Kenny

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