People think that other people’s jobs are easy. “Oh, anyone can do that job.” “ I Could do that job with my eyes closed.” This is particularly true about jobs such as facilitating, teaching and training - especially training. Making matters worse, in Corporate America during a layoff, downtime, or economic turndown, training is the first position to go and the last position for rehiring. Adding insult to injury, trainers often garner the least respect of their co-workers. In short, Corporate America is not treasuring its trainers. So, this begs the question, “Can training really be that easy?”
Before uttering the first word, reading the first handout, or deploying the first exercise, trainers invest in hours of preparation. According to a 2009 study by ATD, depending on the type of training, preparation hours can run from 28 to 143 hours of preparation for every hour of training. Do the math, and the number you reach doesn’t include the training or follow-up work. Many organizations don’t put this much time into strategic planning! Moreover, many managers fail to grasp the intricacies of the science behind learning.
Art and Science
There are many who a trainer’s role as more artistic, but science plans a heavy role. For example, formerly trainers put programs together to ensure reaching “every learning style.” We now know there is little scientific evidence backing the learning style theory. Today learning is based on the type of person you are.
The DISC assessment measures the “type of person” you are from a behavioral and communication style. The high D styles want bottom line information with no fluff. The high I styles are friendly and love to talk about what they are learning. The high S styles are not as talkative and may fail to share what they are learning. Finally, the high C styles want to know the “why” behind every idea and love analyzing a topic. Further, any of these behavioral styles can be disruptive in a classroom setting. Therefore, a seasoned trainer must understand the science behind these styles, their needs, and how to handle any disruptions in a professional manner. A talent worth treasuring.
“Those who can’t - teach,” is a familiar saying. Organizations must keep up with trends in the market and technology, and so must trainers. Collecting information, data, and resources for training programs is nearly a full-time job. This means keeping up with trends in education, conducting constant research, changes in demographics, market preferences, and the goals of the organization. What do your people need to learn to take your company forward, beat the competition, and satisfy the needs of stakeholders? Add to this keeping up with trends in delivery methodologies.
Like anyone, trainers must keep up with technology that changes every nano second. Recently, coaching a business owner, it was surprising to discover she doesn’t understand how to participate in a platform for an online meeting. This is basic technology and an example of someone who is not keeping up with technology vital to her business. Trainers and facilitators must invest the time in technology to learn it, use it in training, and teach it. While trainers might not do a particular task for a living…without trainers, those performing certain tasks for a living, couldn’t do them either. Learning how to do your job is a treasure. On the other hand, the need for training is not always so obvious.
A recent case is a CEO who became privy to grumblings from members of two committees. Results of surveys reveled two glaring items that have the CEO, well…glaring. Neither of the committees maintain minutes and one person is commandeering decision-making. Not maintaining minutes leaves the organization without backup in case of legal or non-compliance issues leading to large hidden figures in legal costs.
Unfair practices in decision-making can lead to low morale, poor productivity, and high turnover. These figures are often hidden as a source for excessive costs and low employee engagement. Clearly, training on how to hold meetings and decision-making skills can help eliminate these costly hidden figures and keep company treasures.
Making knee-jerk decisions to save money laying off trainers nor making them last to hire is wise. It is smart, however, to treasure trainers, training, and the treasures good training can save your company.
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