How to implement company-wide training on a shoestring budget

How to implement company-wide training on a shoestring budget

How to implement company-wide training on a shoestring budget

How to implement company-wide training on a shoestring budget.

As an executive, manager or staff member, how many times have you sat in a training session thinking, “What the hell am I doing here? This has absolutely no benefit to me”? Consider your training over the last 10 years: How much of the information is still relevant, and are you still using or even implementing it? Was it worth the investment? In short, the honest truth is NO!

After 25 years in the training, industry dealing with literally thousands of training providers and institutions, and working with hundreds of companies and more than 50,000 employees, most new employees in SME organisations learn how to do their jobs from existing employees. They learn by getting most of their knowledge from their day-to-day work, aspects such as dealing with challenging customers, completing tasks and assignments, and personal discovery. They refine their job-related skills by making decisions, addressing operational challenges, and, in general, through daily interaction with influential people such as bosses, Go-To staff and mentors within work settings.

It is only at the onset of their careers that employees receive their job basics from formal education and interaction and assistive coaching from colleagues, mentoring and coaching. Once the initial training is completed, they move to the next level: personal discovery learning.

So if you want to change your business model or go in a different direction, why invest your training budget in something that clearly isn’t going to benefit existing staff? Since existing employees learn from each other much more effectively than from PowerPoint presentations and formal classroom training, you can use this. To your advantage.

Identify the Go-To champions and “natural trainers”. They influence what your employees learn and how and when they will apply it. However, selecting a mentor or coach can be daunting. The easiest way is to ask employees in each department to choose a mentor or coach in the department. This person would be naturally selected by the other employees in that department as well as respected, making the selection process quick and easy.

Case in point, there’s usually someone in each department that everyone else considers the mentor or coach, and they usually act as the go-to person when the rest of the staff have problems.

Once identified, you need to formally acknowledge this person. New mentors and coaches must be evaluated based on their operational and job knowledge. Upon completion, you must update their skills before appointing them as a formal department mentor. At the end of the day, this person needs to be an expert before they can become a mentor or coach to anyone else. This methodology of training is not new at all; in fact, it is well known in the engineering industry and falls under the parameters of internships and apprenticeships. We’re moving back to the 1950s where on-the-job training was much more important than it is today.

Once identified, you may end up with less than 20% of your total staff who are suitable for training. At this stage, it is recommended that they all receive formal training as mentors and coaches, typically a course such as “Train the Trainer”. You now have a learning company with a large number of trained natural trainers, each one a respected specialist in his or her department.

This core of natural trainers can now be used to train the rest of the employees in the organization. They will become the champions of the organisation. To train your other employees more efficiently, especially if money is tight and you have a restricted budget, training your mentors in any new operational knowledge first and letting them train the rest of the staff will dramatically increase your training cost ROI.

You can now spend more money on better quality training, instead of spending the same amount of money on mediocre training for all employees. The single biggest advantage of this system is context; your trainers will now naturally extrapolate the information specific to their department from any training course and present it to the employees in the department. Dissemination of training information is now straight-forward: Your mentor will identify problem areas within the department that commonly occur, and they can set up either group or one-to-one training sessions with employees.

The information in this coaching session will be directly related to their daily jobs, and employees can now perform their duties and discover and learn naturally with the advantage of an accessible coach to give them direction should they get stuck on a problem.

So, what is the most effective way to disseminate the training to the rest of the staff in the organization? It was scientifically proven by Landers and Armstrong that existing employees learn faster and retain more information through the gamification of training. Therefore, before initiating the training with the rest of the staff, you will need to consider how to make the training fun and interesting.

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Stephan du Toit

Stephan du Toit

Senior Advisor Employment Equity. Specialist in emergency Employment Equity and Labour compliance for organisations. Find more information on implementing employment equity in my other articles or visit our website to enroll for the next employment equity training course.

Are you having difficulty with employment equity? Please don't hesitate to contact me.

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