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

Same Old, Same Old Can Be Good!

routine training outputs need to be supported by routine inputs

(reprinted from The Training Tipsheet)

To have an impact, best practices must be presented to your employees, both new hires and longtime workers, on a regular basis. Your employee orientation might cover some of these, while others are communicated in seminars or online courses, required reading and activities, or a core curriculum or internal "school" of some sort.

In other words, after a lot of work in identifying challenges and crafting policies and practices to address them, a standard communication vehicle -- training event, documentation, whatever your approach -- becomes part of the routine of every employee's development. At the same time, it becomes part of your routine as the person in charge of that topic, or as someone engaged in a formal training function.

In other words, you are into "same old, same old" territory. You deliver or coordinate or mentor the same event or course on a regular schedule. It has become routine to schedule activities, or respond to participants, around a particular topic related to a valued best practice.

The problem is that many companies don't take "same old, same old" far enough. By that I mean:

  • the delivery of the training and communications is boiled down to a routine, but
  • the development process that created those training/communication tools is abandoned.

Over time, your communications drift out of touch with company needs and actual practices. Employees return to their departments from orientation only to hear, "Oh, we don't do it that way anymore." Courses teach practices and processes that aren't fully supported on the job, because the conditions in the field have continued to evolve while your training has been static.

One day, it all blows up because a department head or key manager is fed up with sending employees to training, and then informally doing remedial training afterwards to get the most out of that employee.

When you were first developing these core units of information about best practices, you talked to managers and employees on the front lines. You got a lot of input, and you also built relationships around a mutual goal: better performance and productivity from employees.

That is the "same old, same old" that you want to keep, in a scaled-down version. Instead of just repeating the output (delivery of the employee communication or training), you want to continue the input process to some degree.

Schedule some time in the coming weeks to touch base with everyone who has a legitimate interest in the results of your best practices training, and spend a lot of time listening. It's more work, to be sure, but it is crucial to delivering on your original promise to spread best practices throughout your organization.

If your "same old, same old" deals only with the delivery of a product with no regard for maintaining the development process, the value of those employee communications is already diminishing. It is only a matter of time before they become ineffective, or even irrelevant.

© 2008 Best Training Practices -- Will Kenny

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