Training That's Built to Last
A few weeks ago you invested quite a bit of time and money on training your dealership staff on the "latest and greatest" — whatever that might be — new sales techniques, customer service protocols, technology, etc. Good for you. Providing ongoing training to your employees can be a competitive advantage and aid in retention.
Though everyone seemed to be onboard for the first week or two after, behaviors are slowly slipping back to the pre-training days. All those great learnings are fading away, and old habits are returning. Why does this happen? What can be done to make training "stick?" The answer lies not just in the training itself, but in what you do both before and after it.
Before the training
Preparing employees for a training session can be as crucial as the training itself. Advanced preparation helps your employees see why the training is essential to the business and how it benefits them personally.
Before the training, explain to employees how what they will learn relates to their jobs and why it is important — and expected — for them to take what they learn and apply it. Discuss how the training can help them improve their performance and what that means to them and the company. Talk about how the training and the skills they will learn tie to the business goals of your organization, helping them to see how it fits into the big picture.
After the training
Training is not a one-and-done activity. Without a strategy for reinforcing new skills after the training ends, 90% of what your employees were taught could be lost. Without management encouragement and support participants will rarely fully implement new skills and knowledge in the workplace.
That's why it's important to reinforce and support employees in what they have learned after they receive training. Meet with them to discuss what was learned and how it can be applied on-the-job. Ask your employees what you can do to help them succeed with their new skills. Provide coaching if needed. Consider designing follow-up activities and testing that reinforce learned skills after the training ends.
Additionally, be sure to provide positive feedback whenever employees apply new skills on-the-job. Behaviors that get recognized and praised are usually repeated. Ongoing communication, leading by example and recognizing success are the keys to inspiring your team to action, and what will drive them to adopt practices into how they work day-to-day.
If you discover you have a team member or two who aren't following through, re-evaluate your process to see if there are flaws in how you are presenting the information — before you re-evaluate your staff. Is your process clear and efficient? Is everyone being held to the same standards? Most importantly, are you, and your leadership team, leading by example?
At the end of the day, getting your people to understand—and to take action, is a combination of giving them the information they need, communicating your expectations regarding everyone's responsibilities, and ensuring that your team knows what's in it for the dealership and for each of them individually. Knowing and doing are the keys to making your training efforts pay off.