Training teammates may be rewarding and fun if done correctly, but it can also be tedious for both parties if not approached correctly. I was reviewing my 3-step process strategy for conveying process knowledge to my teammates after having just trained and then sat through training myself.
Here is my simple 3-step formula, which is easy to follow but can be disastrous if overlooked.
Step #1 – Planning:
Clear understanding of the outcome: While this is fairly self-explanatory, it is useful to jot down what the training is, what the desired outcome of the training activity is, and what the client expects in terms of time, delivery, and accuracy. It's amazing how, once you start writing these minor points down, you realize how much knowledge you need to impart to a trainee and that it's not just a "Start - Steps - Stop" process.
Their background and learning style: Everyone has a unique learning style and preferences for how knowledge is delivered to them. Ask instead of guessing! Also, remember that each team member has a unique set of skills; identify what they are and what they enjoy doing so that you can personalize your training examples and strategy to keep them involved and learning.
Training outline and main points to cover: Being a stickler for frameworks, I love to create a checklist of key points or milestones to cover and share these before the training as a way to set expectations. This gives us an anchor point to refer to if we veer off topic or need to stop at a specific point so we can continue from where we left off.
Step #2 – Delivery:
Resources: The first step in delivery is to ensure that your trainee has full access and knowledge to systems and will not encounter any problems while performing a task. This is the initial step... ensuring that all tools and access are available. Make them accomplish it while you're with them, or it will be the first stumbling block in their training. A trainee may put off access until the last minute and then struggle when it comes time to deliver the work.
Demonstrate: Perform a system walk-through before introducing a new system to the trainee (encourage loads of screenshots). Explain where things are stored, as well as how to troubleshoot or undo/delete if something goes wrong. Then, using the most logical manner, walk through the process. I prefer to spell out steps to encourage note-taking.
Pass on best practices or tips: While I share my steps, I also share my best practices that helped me save time, or what I find works for me. Make sure you mention that you prefer to do it a certain way…but they are also free to experiment and discover their own best practices. Don’t mix up essential steps with best practices… essential steps MUST happen!
Step #3 – Evaluation:
Recap: After delivering the approach, I like to give the trainee a verbal recap and also ask and answer any questions that may arise! I encourage questions since they inspire deeper thought and allow you to check for understanding. To review, I use the training outline paper from my planning; this way, both the trainee and I am certain that we covered all of the procedures.
Mirror: Allow your trainee to take the wheel now. Allow them to sort it out while you sit back. Allow for some fumbling and missteps - let them fumble a little and see if they figure it out. If you believe they have veered off course, bring them back to the place where they were correct and guide them from there. Allow them time to ponder and process instead of jumping in every time they pause! Please do not skip this step! This is what solidifies your training and allows you to judge its effectiveness. Encourage them to use notes, steps, and screenshots as needed.
Encourage and support: Finally, encourage and support them. Remember when you first started on this task and how clumsy you were on the system until you became proficient! Tell them that! And, if they did well, by all means, praise them. Remember to carefully describe where things can go wrong, mistakes you've made, outcomes, and learnings so others don't make the same mistake. Finally, provide them with a contact number, hours, and ways to reach you if they have any questions.
Here are some more ad hoc tips:
Allow time between training and execution of a task where possible – to avoid overwhelm
Set aside enough time - more time is always better than less – Don’t rush a training
Where possible train on one topic and one topic only – for clarity
Encourage and allow time for notes and screenshots if not recording the session
Discuss possible and common errors
Set task completion time expectations – on a learning curve and off a learning curve
If there are two or more trainees, assess knowledge levels and leave no one behind
Use screen recording tools and build a reference library where possible
It is always easier to train correctly the first time than it is to retrain
Learning is easy – unlearning is hard
I have always considered training to be a crucial component of successful delegation, as well as the development of a learning culture and information sharing.
Happy handing over the baton!
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Written by Tatum De Souza