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How to Prepare the Perfect Employee Training

If you want to train employees and get results, you need to do more than hire a trainer with a decent reputation. You need to prepare for training with the same organization you put into onsite leadership. Training employees can be an expensive proposition — so you want to make sure it’s worth every penny. Training with the brain in mind should be well-organized and well-practiced. Whether you hire an outside trainer or someone in-house does the job, preparation makes all of the difference.

Choosing — and fitting — the training content

The content determines the amount of time necessary for the training. “Spray and pray” trainings — in which participants are given more information than their brains can handle and then sent on their way to apply it — are brain-antagonistic and ineffective. The brain needs time to connect new information to known information.

Training content may be predetermined by a needs assessment. This assessment may be informal, or you may have your leadership team create a needs assessment or survey for every employee to fill out. Here are some general questions you might include in a needs assessment:

  • In which areas are you interested in further training?

  • Select the most convenient day and time for your for training.

  • Which method of training do you prefer? (List options such as online training, on-the-job training, and so on.)

Selecting the trainer

If you hire an outside trainer, be certain that the trainer you hire knows your content and understands your business needs. Interview the trainer and be certain you’re getting what you want. The trainer who says she can offer a training that meets the needs of each of the multiple intelligences should be able to offer you an outline of what she can do to meet those needs.

Following are some suggestions for choosing a trainer:

  • Ask for credentials and references.

  • Interview the trainer — preferably in person — and try to get a feel for the type of presenter he is.

  • Ask for outlines of the material.

  • Check to see whether the trainer provides follow-up for the training in the form of updates, coaching, or informal gatherings.

Choosing the setting for your training

The most effective trainings occur off-site in a room that lacks distractions. When trainings are given onsite, trainees are torn between concentrating on the new information and work they need to get done. Onsite trainings also include more interruptions.

If the room has always been set up theater-style, or perhaps trainees always sit around a conference table, you can try other formats. Consider these:

  • Round tables make trainees more likely to interact with each other. When the participants sit only halfway around the table, they have clear sightlines to the trainer and training materials, as well.

  • U-shaped designs offer visibility if participants don’t sit on both sides of the tables.

  • Diagonal table set ups allow for visibility, interaction, and participation.

  • Many trainers prefer round table arrangements for participation and movement possibilities. If the room doesn’t have windows, moods and attitudes may take a bad turn because they lack feel-good brain chemicals, like serotonin, whose release is affected by sunlight. If the training room is short on sunlight, be sure the training includes some short “road trips” to areas with natural light.

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