Not Just Training
Three Ways to Improve
Learning and Motivation
James A. DeSena, CSP, MBA
time you have an employee training session, you send a message. You want
that message to be one that reinforces the importance of the employee's job
to your company.
people conduct training sessions, they generally do it to help people
learn new knowledge or skills. Clearly, that is a primary goal of the
session. But, when you bring
people together at a training session, you have a much greater
the person felt valued, they contributed. If they weren't treated the
way they felt they were supposed to treat the customers, they weren't
I suggest my clients have a top-level executive kick off the training
session. Just the presence of an executive lets people know that you
place a great deal of importance on the training. You realize how much of a
commitment of time it is for the individual and the company and you want
people to give it the undivided attention it deserves. Following are
suggested points that an executive could cover in his or her introductory
points for introductory remarks for the ________ training session.
them for coming.
them know you have been through the session and highly recommend it. (If
you have.) (A common question is always, "Has management been
them know why you think this training will be helpful.
them why this training is important to them now.
them to be open to any feedback they may receive.
them know we will be looking for examples of improved skills back on the
You ultimately want to let people know how their job fits into the bigger
picture, how it benefits your company and your customers.
one client I worked with, a transit system, the session was on customer
was intended to give people an improved set of skills for handling difficult
customer situations. In the introduction, to set the tone, I discussed how
this transit system transported 250,000 people each day, a quarter of a
million people. That is more than the population of many
cities. These employees didn't just provide a ride; they allowed people to
get to work and
earn a living. The thousands of businesses that depended on them know that
their employees can get to work reliably, conveniently and inexpensively.
The system allows students to get
participants realized just how important their jobs were, they were much
to thinking about what they could do differently. Too many times at training
is a tremendous amount of resistance because people are sent to it, the
that something is wrong with what they are doing. We wanted to make sure it
was clear that the reason they were there wasn't because something was
wrong. It was because we wanted them to look for small ways to improve the
already high level of service they were providing to customers. (This
company had won two awards for outstanding customer service.)
a result, even when there was high resistance by some of the participants,
we were able
to win over many of them. By the way, the reason there was resistance was
not because of some inherent problem with the training. It was usually
because of how the individual was treated by his or her supervisor. If the
person felt valued, they contributed. If they weren't treated the way they
felt they were supposed to treat the customers, they weren't happy.
This is a situation that management can correct through training or the
Take care with the logistics.
you can, hold the session off site. If you can't, try to arrange it so there
will be as few distractions and interruptions as possible.
an adequately sized room. I still remember a session where the client had
estimated the number of people who would be in the session, so the room was
the air conditioning didn't hold up to the size of the crowd. Everyone was
uncomfortable. It wasn't a conducive learning environment.
creature comforts can make a big difference. People love food. If your
budget permits, have coffee, soda, fruit or pastries.
sure the room isn't disorganized: old presentation materials lying about,
left over papers taped to the wall, etc.
ask for everyone's cooperation with cell phones, being back from breaks on
time and for participation.
DeSena is a speaker and consultant to industry. Jim specializes in working
with sales leaders, providing seminars, speeches and planning retreats. For
additional free information,
call 800-4321-WIN. www.salesleaders.com
(c)2001 ExpertMagazine.com 2001
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