Let’s begin by defining what exactly “Train the Trainer” means. It’s a popular approach that companies do to ensure that they have competent staff members. All it involves is having an in-house expert. That person trains a select group of current staff members. Once training concludes, the trainees will have new abilities. They’ll be able to train both current employees and new-hires. It’s a method that’s occurring in more places than the business world. Hospitals, schools, and even science labs are beginning to use it. This speaks to how easy the process is to install.
Train the Trainer carries many benefits. It allows companies to build a team of trainers or instructors in a fast manner. This is a huge time-saver compared to putting each employee into a long training process. It’s great enough that your employees receive needed information. But they also learn how to teach that information to others. Your employee’s abilities are bound to improve. They’ll be able to learn how to lead their own teams to success. Thus, Train the Trainer has two main benefits. 1) Employees get useful knowledge that they can apply to their jobs. 2) Those same employees learn how to teach and train their peers.
Here are four major factors to keep in mind when your company’s putting a Train the Trainer program in place:
Don’t always select the person who you believe has the most knowledge about the training subject. Someone’s intelligence or skillset doesn’t always mean he or she will be an effective trainer. Dig deep and check out the backgrounds of your employees. There may be a few that have the right teaching background. You might have a worker who always displays confidence and knowledge during meetings.
The last thing you want to do is select a trainer that, well, won’t be good at training. Here are some characteristics to look for when selecting your trainer:
-Tremendous knowledge of the company and the criteria that will get taught.
-Experience leading a group.
-Likability and respect for all employees. That respect must be mutual.
-A good speaker who won’t be too dull or boring.
-Someone who’s genuine and authentic.
-Someone who’s motivated to do their best on a daily basis.
Train the Trainer is more than a learning experience for the trainees. It’s also a learning experience for the trainer. That’s great that the person you’ve selected has experience giving instructions. But that doesn’t mean he or she will be great at it in a corporate environment. If this is the case, try to remain patient. The trainer’s abilities should improve after a few days.
You or someone in upper management should sit in on the training to make sure it’s going well. Be sure to offer pointers and constructive feedback. The trainer should listen and adjust his or her teaching style and material. If each day is a disaster, despite your best efforts, you may have to pull the plug on the program. If so, you can select a different employee to pick up where the other trainer left off. Or, you can consider hiring a professional coach or consultant. They’re always willing to immediately step in and teach. No matter what happens, try not to get frustrated. The benefits of the program should outweigh whatever isn’t going as well as you’d hoped.
Train the Trainer programs are successful when there’s plenty of constructive criticism. Without it, the trainees won’t get positioned for success when the program concludes. That’s why the trainer must get told before day one that there’s going to be feedback at the end of each session. This will prepare the person to not take anything the wrong way. If the trainer reacts in a negative manner, then he or she doesn’t have the temperament to be a good trainer.
Here’s an idea that could save you and your company a lot of headaches. Before training begins, you and the trainer could sit down together. Next, the two of you can come up with an outline for each day of training. Doing so will help prevent the trainer from going off track. It will also ensure that every important bullet point gets covered.
Your trainers will be new to the training process. Thus, your trainers should be eager to know if their methods ended up being effective. They should also express curiosity about understanding what they need to improve. Once training concludes, you or your staff should attempt to create reports. Those reports should contain analytics. These will assess how the trainees adjusted their work habits since training ended. They should also specify if the company is now getting better results. You could even come up with some sort of reward. The employees can receive it if they do what they learned to do.
Here are some quick tips to ensure that your Train the Trainer process is a success:
-Understand the trainee’s main needs.
Before a training outline is even produced, hold a meeting with upper management. That meeting should determine what subject matter will benefit the employees the most. This may involve having to pull some employees aside and ask them what they’re struggling with. Upper management should bring all necessary metrics and statistics to the meeting. This is to see what sectors need to get fixed.
-Outline the goals and objectives of the training sessions with the trainer.
Your Train the Trainer program isn’t going to work if you and the trainer aren’t on the same page. You must communicate your expectations to the trainer. That communication must continue on a regular basis throughout the entire process.
-The course should get divided into segments.
If you do this, you’ll assist the trainees by having a schedule. They’ll know what to expect. This will help prepare the trainees to be at their best.
-Take the time to do a review at the end of each section.
Though they might seem repetitive, quick review sessions are important. The sessions allow the trainees to ask questions. They’ll also have another chance to pick up on the most important information.
-Ensure that your trainer is doing all it takes to keep the audience engaged.
Tell your trainer to go out of his or her way to engage with the trainees. Even dull information can seem exciting when presented in the right way. Tell the trainer to inform you if employees are often disengaged. (Looking at their phones, browsing the web, falling asleep, etc.).
-Don’t overwhelm the trainees with too much information.
The course must be in a format that doesn’t spew out too much information at one time. The sessions will be a waste of time if the trainees are always lost and can’t keep up.
-Re-energize the trainees.
Take periodic breaks throughout the training sessions. Otherwise, people will grow restless and may become irritable. A simple ten-minute break goes a long way in keeping people’s spirits high.
-Introduce the most challenging concepts in the first half of each session.
Save the lighter material for the second half of each session. Why? Because people generally have more energy earlier in the day. So, don’t wait until 4:30 p.m. to bring up a complicated mathematical formula.
-Presentation slides shouldn’t be too detailed.
The slides only need to be an outline. Most of the information can come out of the trainer’s mouth. Many people don’t enjoy reading. Having hundreds of words per slide is going to make the trainees stop listening.
-Have fun with it.
Training sessions shouldn’t seem like torture. What’s a great way to prevent employees from feeling like it is? Mix it up. Do more than show slides. Include some videos, Q&A sessions, ask trainees some questions, etc.
-Have a plan in case the trainer doesn’t know the answer to a question.
Inform your trainer that it’s okay if he or she doesn’t have the answer for every single question. This is normal. But don’t allow trainee questions to go unanswered. Your trainer can jot down each question that he or she doesn’t know the answer to. Next, the trainer can email those questions to upper management. Once answered, the trainer can relay the information to the group.
-Provide take-away material.
Print out the most crucial information that you believe the trainees will need. This could be guidance that the trainees could reference at their desks. Don’t go overboard and provide dozens of hand-outs. Keep the information as compact as possible.
The first Train the Trainer course never goes 100% according to plan. In fact, your company’s 100th course won’t either. But that’s okay. Prepare as best you can to make necessary adjustments. Don’t waste time panicking when something goes wrong. Stay calm and be logical.
There are certain goals you should strive for when using the Train the Trainer model. So, what’s one of the most important goals? It is to get your staff members prepared to present information well. Another key goal is for the instructors to learn how to respond to questions. Plus, the instructors should get better at leading all sorts of learning activities. But there are other crucial goals companies should have when using Train the Trainer. Organizations must ensure that trainers will provide people with first-rate resources and materials. This will make it easier for the trainer to lead discussions. Another important goal is for the trainer to boost his or her listening skills. Listening is one of the most significant (and underrated) skills in the business world. Trainers should also understand how to make observations that are accurate. Otherwise, they are going to waste the time of your employees. The trainer should ensure that the trainees will become better at their jobs. In fact, that is one of the most important goals of any Train the Trainer program.
Now that you know the basics of Train the Trainer, it’s time to get to work. Begin meeting with management to plan the installation of your program. Also, be thinking about your employees who might excel as trainers. Stay patient and try to enjoy the process. Don’t despair if your program fails many different times. It means you should consider hiring a professional consultant or trainer from a firm. He or she will have years and years of experience in educating workers.
For any questions about Train the Trainer programs, feel free to email Billions in the Bank. We’d love to help out your company in any way we can.