By Laxmi Todiwan
The goal and mission of Training and Development function in an organisation is to line up initiatives and activities to the overall organisational objectives. Most employees do have weaknesses in their workplace skills. A training program is thus needed to strengthen those skills. A development program on the other hand creates equity among employees. The purpose of training and development is to organise, facilitate and expedite acquisition of the desired knowledge, skills, and attitudinal abilities required for effective job performance.
I believe that training is not a department or a profession but a mindset. A trainer is a mentor, coach or a counselor; a person who likes empowering others. In the process who can create more of, his or her kinds. A person with that mindset would always want to be updated and relevant with the times. That means he or she is aware of the latest techniques, trends or technology. For instance, we at the Apeejay Institute of Hospitality have the advantage of being a hotel school . With access to training across The Park Hotels the faculty is constantly updated and students as well as our employees are benefited from this.
Walk the talk, love what you do or do what you love! A trainer is responsible for making the trainees attending the sessions to become the best versions of themselves. How do we do that? The subject knowledge has to be good but good is only job half done. Training sessions must be interesting, addressing the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me). We deal with adult learners and the facilitation process used should to be meant for them. To be effective the basics of andragogy can be adopted. I recently heard a US Navy Admiral talking in a GoalCast inspirational video. He says that, “If you want to change the world start off by making your bed”. He speaks of many other things too and I completely agree with him as my father was a Naval Marine Commando and I could relate with what he spoke. In Fact one must watch the video, how Admiral William H. McRaven, conquers his day with this one small task in the morning.
This is how we trainers liven up our training sessions; with anecdotes, case studies, and examples from our own experiences. Activities, games and use of humour come in handy. Everyone connects with them and they bring an element of fun. Training requires attitudinal shift that can come from these inspiring stories and anecdotes.
I am a strong believer of having an environment conducive to training, within the organization. The top down approach, starting from the top management is the best. It doesn’t work the other way round. Once the right environment is created with the system is put in place, it becomes the culture of the organization.
Training is like the mother at home. If she is there she may not be given due importance or recognition for her efforts but the moment she is not around, everything goes haywire and she’ll be missed immensely. Similarly an organization may not be applauded for the right things that it does but mistakes are noticed with an hawk’s eye. There’s no discounting at all. Processes are successful only with ongoing training; and training is an ongoing process!
Benefits of in-house training
In house training is an excellent way to improve the skills and performance of the employees and the management. It is economical, in fact it can be free as the trainer is already employed with the company and no money goes out of the organization. Moreover it is being delivered by the person who knows the organisation and the systems well. It has many benefits such as:
- Increased job satisfaction and morale among employees
- Increased employee motivation
- Reduced employee turnover
- Enhanced company image
- Efficient Risk management (by means of diversity training and gender sensitization).
- Increased efficiencies in processes ultimately leading to financial gains
- Increased capacity to adopt new technologies, methods and systems.
- Increased innovation in terms of strategies, products and services.
Some thoughts on how to create a good training environment within the organization
It’s a fact that monetary incentives are short lived and they rarely work whereas opportunities for learning and development do and so does empowerment. For instance, the trainer can be given freedom to plan sessions and modules that’ll have the highest impact and acceptability among the participants. A person who enjoys training others has a different profile, he or she enjoys the process of developing others; not everyone is wired to do so.
A focus group can be created with employees in operational departments, who have a passion to train others. Ask them for ideas on what would be the best incentive for them; recognition itself plays a big role in this regard. Involving them in training need analysis and developing training audits would be encouraging. Designating them as ‘subject matter experts’ may also help. Providing an opportunity to travel for training may work as an incentive for some. The departmental trainers can then be groomed into training or Learning and Development managers. Incentives should be worked for these departmental trainers; they deliver on the shop floor.
Lapel pins for trainers is a good idea; it can do wonders just like the service medal does for the armed forces personnel. The lapel pin can be modified so that it is more relevant with times, say a special badge or a mention in the official email signature which acknowledges the trainer’s role or contribution.
A ‘yearly incentive meet’ or trainer’s conference at the organisational level at a good location works well. The trainers can be recognized for their efforts and share their individual best practices. Having a trainer’s con-call every quarter can be a great platform for exchanging ideas, getting feedback of the training model/ modules as well as addressing issues. Also yearly training calendar can be chalked out.
Learning and Development pool
Create a Learning and Development pool where trainers list their expertise and modules that they can deliver. Thus in house talent is groomed and the organization has a great resource in place.
Training is the essence of any transformation. It is said that no man can teach other but he can help him find the answers within. Trainer should remember that he is a facilitator, with that mindset the process of learning and development becomes enriching as well as enjoyable.
Laxmi Todiwan is Professor & HOD (Accommodations), Apeejay Institute of Hospitality