Create A Learning Environment

Create A Learning Environment

I’m often asked if it’s better to train in-house or get external help. Staff training is vital to any business, and I’ve found that using external trainers is the best option.

My staff are more likely to embrace training from a skilled presenter. Trainers make it fun to learn. They make it lively and relevant. They have all the props: DVDs, charts, workbooks. They use roleplaying to test the newly learned skills.

I suggest you help the trainer write the training program. Set the standards. From there, the secret is to follow up on the floor and provide constant feedback. After training, we allocate a mentor to help employees develop their skills. We are constantly training and retraining staff.

People say they haven’t got time or money to train staff. They say, ‘What if I train them and they leave?’ I say, ‘What if you don’t train them and they stay?’ It’s not lack of time or money: it’s lack of priority. No train, no gain.

You can do everything else right, like purchasing and marketing, but it’s your employees that have the greatest effect on your bottom line.

Create an environment where the team is keen to learn. Don’t just sit them in front of a DVD. Training has never been that easy. You can’t introduce change with a memo or DVD. You have to get your staff emotionally involved in the training process.

Set high standards. You can’t expect new employees to do a first-class job after seeing a second-class demonstration. Let your employees know what is expected of them, and give them all the knowledge you can. Lead by example.

When I employed our first trainer, he stipulated that I sit in on the training and participate. I said I was too busy. He said, “Well, you’d better find another trainer.” So I did what I was told and I learned heaps.

I’m still learning. Recently I attended the Disney Institute in California with two of our managers and our sales trainer. We spent days learning about Disney’s approach to management. It was really inspiring and motivating, with heaps of take-home value. We explored techniques perfected by Disney in staff hiring, training, retention and communication. With the help of our sales trainer, we have put what we learned into our workplace.

Your employees are your biggest asset. Invest in them and you invest in yourself.

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