This supermarket, which will remain nameless, appears not to have invested in any safety training before they opened. It seems so unlikely and yet they nearly had a disaster on their hands. When the alarms went off customers were almost knocked down by fleeing staff who were themselves so panicked they were completely unable to manage the situation or help the customers.
Not all learning situations are potentially so dangerous but they are not and should not be a tick in the box. People learning new skills need to try out the new learning and practice it until it becomes second nature. I am always saddened by companies who decide to have a half day training session which is often nothing more than a briefing. Then they wonder why the training didn’t ‘work’
It doesn’t take much. If you use learning techniques which really involve the participants they can learn in a safe environment, feel the emotions, make decisions and solve problems so the learning truly belongs to them. No one will be faster than your staff then in relating the learning to their own work experience or environment.
In a one day workshop you can tackle a new skills or a new approach to handling a situation. You can use the learning environment identify and correct failures in systems or approaches. One of my clients a large call centre in London found that staff who had previously avoided any situation which they thought might cause conflict, after the training, went out of their way to handle difficult situations more professionally. Why? Because devising their own approach, working out practical solutions in the classroom gave them the confidence to do the job properly. And the bottom line? More repeat business and more annual licences renewed.
Now you can do that kind of training if you or your managers follow it up and build in a programme of coaching and monitoring to make sure the learning becomes embedded. However because of ‘business pressures’ that seldom happens so yet again a valuable learning day is allowed to wither and becomes yet another tick in the box.
So my next question is how skilled are you or your managers in coaching your staff? Believe it or not a well trained manager can coach in just 10 minutes so following up becomes a part of a normal manager’s day with the extra comfort of knowing your team can respond to customer needs in exactly the way you want and expect.
Charlotte is the author of the Useful Guide to Mentoring which covers many of the skills required in coaching others. Read more about it here. The guide covers:
- the role of the mentor and the benefits of mentoring and coaching
- finding your natural mentoring style and the key qualities needed
- effective questions to use in the mentoring environment
- active listening – what it is and how to do it effectively including a self assessment exercise and audit
- a learning styles questionnaire to help you understand how your mentee learns so you can tailor your mentoring accordingly
- a Mentoring Competence Self Assessment questionnaire
- the essential steps in becoming a mentee, finding the right mentor for you and working effectively with him/her to deliver your objectives.