I am pretty sure we have all attended training sessions that had little or no positive impact on our job. In my personal experience, as an attendee, it’s sometimes been due to an ineffective instructor and other times it was because the program they were teaching was so cumbersome and technical, a two day training session just isn’t  enough time to take it all in. It’s hard to keep people engaged when they feel overwhelmed. 

On the other hand, I’ve also witnessed an informal half-day training session that was highly effective because the person leading it was telling the attendees exactly how he saved the company $4 million dollars.  He was dynamic, authentic, knowledgeable and the audience of his peers was totally engaged.  What he was telling them they could see themselves doing; and it worked for him, so it should work for them!

You want your employees learning from, and emulating, the best; not someone who can’t actually do what they are trying to teach.  Learning from the best raises everyone’s game.  Training from a person that isn’t the best could (and usually does) result in passing along bad habits and poor techniques.

This “learn from the best” approach is referred to as “internal benchmarking”. Measure performance, compliance and competency to establish a baseline. Find the best people in the organization; find out exactly what they are doing that makes them the best, and then teach that to the other people. Continue measuring to track everyone’s results over time and keep repeating the process. Your trainers don’t have to be the best in everything, just the best in what they are training. This process also allows you to recognize your top performers which helps strengthen their affinity for the company and increases job satisfaction, fulfilment and dedication. Continuous training and recognition in this way can contribute to deeper employee engagement and talent retention. Don’t worry about what your competitors are doing because they’ll be watching you… from behind.

Training should lead to measurable improvements.  If it does, it’s an investment and everyone benefits.  If it doesn’t, it’s simply a waste of time and money and you, as the business owner, lose the most.