Plenty of businesses encourage training and education. But few realize what a jump start training is to staff teamwork and motivation. The advantages of a fast and agile organization that practices one-for-all, all-for-one collaboration transcends the boundaries of the training classroom.
“You kill two birds with team training. And it’s hard to say which is the greater benefit --the training or the teamwork,” says Diane Walter, training consultant and author of Training on the Job. Insights recently talked to Walter for this primer on training and teamwork.
Can training help improve morale?
I’ve had people tell me, ‘These two employees are bitter enemies, you’re not going to get them to work well together.’ However, when they have a purpose and something they want to achieve, instead of focusing on who’s right and wrong, training helps them focus on the task and how the job should be done. In the training environment, people just start conversing and talking to one another. It gets people to interact in ways they wouldn't naturally through the course of the workday.
I’ve also had people who have told me ‘Before training, I was about to transfer or leave for new job.’ But the training helps them perform their jobs better and communicate with their team. They leave more confident and trusting. Their doubts or fears subside.
What about different skill levels? Why should I send my experienced staff to training?
Competency is no longer defined in terms of just individual capabilities, but around the ability to function effectively with others as part of a team. In a training situation, you should make an effort to include the older or more experience workers along with the less experienced staff.
For one thing, I’ve never yet had a team in training where even the ‘experts’ knew exactly how to do all the tasks. It’s very encouraging for the less skilled staff to see the people they perceive as the experts ask questions within the training environment. They think, ‘They’re the experts and they didn’t even know that. I’m not so bad.’
Should I involve representatives from different departments in training?
Frequently, training will reveal things across your business. It inherently helps organizations discover. It brings problems to light or holes in procedures and it provides a forum where you can solve these issues.
Employees need to communicate to a greater extent than in the past. The training environment is a great opportunity to include representatives from different parts of your company. When you’ve got everyone there together, you’re already working on improving team communication and decision making – you have everyone there to hash things out. Everyone must be willing to share information and learn from one another. Together they examine, criticize and restructure the work, which has tremendous value.
How does teamwork extend beyond the training session?
The teamwork never really ends. Once a group gets a grasp of the system and the functions that they’ve been trained on, that team formed in the classroom is going to do it. It suddenly becomes an employee owned system. They’ll work to keep it up. They’ll want to.
Training might focus on how you interact with the software. But it’s also about people interfacing with information. It’s about environmental influences that impact task performance. And most important, training has a lot to do with the human factor, of people interfacing with people.
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