By Kari Gladstone, Training Account Manager, Signature Worldwide
It is common knowledge that immediately following training, staff members are more motivated, they demonstrate higher levels of awareness, and their job performance is at an overall high. However, what can you do to maintain inspiration after the training ends?
As a trainer for many years, two of my goals in training sessions are to have fun and to inspire my participants to find ways to improve when they get back on the job. Since most employees appreciate the opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills, as a trainer, why not make it fun, so it will stick? I personally like to create and plan activities that are fun but also serve as learning tools.
Participation in the training session is highly encouraged—as we know, those who participate, learn. A few simple tools you can use in the session include: flip-charting ideas; working in teams; having friendly competitions; and participants clapping and cheering for each other.
I think it is also important to inspire each other by sharing positive stories of great customer service, when they were the customer—stories that are relative to the training topic. You will be surprised at how many stories will surface. It helps to remind the participants how they like to be treated, and what lessons they can take away when they are providing the service. In addition, sharing quotes can be fun and inspirational. One of my new favorite quotes is:
“Work is either fun or drudgery. It depends onyour attitude. I like fun.” —Colleen C. Barrett
I pick quotes that are relevant to the training topic, post them on the walls, and encourage participants to walk around the gallery of quotes and write down the ones that inspire them. We then use the quotes as discussion points.
After a training session, I usually hear from managers and drivers of the training program that their employees had fun and enjoyed the training. It is also common to see a participant’s evaluation stating he or she had fun, and felt inspired to improve upon their job skills when returning to work. It is not surprising that the manager actually sees an increase on skill levels from those staff members who attended the session.
Preventing the Post-Training Slump
However, as time passes, there usually is a slump. So how do you keep your staff motivated after the trainer leaves?
Here is a list of tips you can use to encourage your staff on a regular basis:
- If you are the responsible driver or manager of the training program, attend the training so you are familiar with the skills and materials delivered by the outside training company. As a manager, you must keep your staff motivated. At my most successful hotels, the managers say they never ask their team to do anything they are not willing to do themselves. So participate in the training event.
- Have weekly or monthly meetings and make the training topic part of the meeting.
- Have contests (friendly competition) to help keep the skills fresh and important.
- Assign an employee each month to create a board. Make it fun by having a theme. The board should list the skills or topics connected with the training session and the ongoing training program. The board serves as a visual, daily reinforcement of what they learned and what you expect of them on an ongoing basis.
- Set up a buddy system, with a veteran assigned to a new employee, to help them learn the job and required skills that are part of training and your ongoing standard operating procedures.
- Set up incentives that are connected to achieving your company goals.
- Practice positive reinforcement. Share guest/customer comments and positive feedback immediately with the employee and the team. This shows the impact of using the new skills they learned. When I ask employees, “Other than money, what is a reward to you?” a common reply is “Being recognized by my manager or owner.” So show your appreciation!
The important thing to remember about training sessions is to create an experience that will enable the attendees to learn something useful. Participate and have fun in your learning and on the job.
Kari Gladstone is a training account manager with Signature Worldwide, a Dublin, OH-based company that offers sales and customer service training, marketing, and mystery shopping services for a variety of service-based industries. For more information, call 800.398.0518 or visit www.signatureworldwide.com. You also can connect with Signature Worldwide on Twitter @SignatureWorld and on Facebook.