Part 6: Training Reinforcement

Training Reinforcement |The Backbone of Effective Franchise Management

The final critical fundamental within the 6 Fundamentals of Management is Training Reinforcement. Much like Pavlov and the proverbial bell, people also need reinforcement to truly sustain the training they are given. The key to training success is to implement creative training reinforcement techniques to deepen the learning for participants so that what they learned becomes a habit. By employing timely refreshers, you keep the material front and center in the learner’s mind.

Follow these six simple steps to keep training alive and performance on the rise.1

  1. 1.       Best Practices

Management must be proactive in facilitating the sharing of best practices to increase performance across the board. Consistently sharing best practices spreads success stories, which are important to create buy-in from staff and confidence in the techniques you are enforcing. Managers and employees should meet bi-weekly or monthly to openly discuss challenges and what is working. It is critical for managers not to dominate the conversation, but guide the employees to solutions.

Practice: One great option is to break into small groups and present a challenge or situation and have each group discuss a solution/appropriate response and then present what their specific group discovered.

  1. 2.       Product Training

If your franchise pushes out a mountain of new methods for streamlining processes, new products front line team members need to learn about or new services that need to be sold, you have some work to do to communicate all the details of what needs to be known and done. To make sure it takes hold, long-term daily reinforcement and repetition are an absolute. The key for product or methodology changes is to initiate hands-on learning. It will speeds up implementation.

Practice: Pair people up in groups of two to teach each other the benefits and features of the new item. Remember, to truly know something is to teach it. Once the new steps have been reviewed and then practiced several times, the team will have an easier time implementing them.

  1. 3.       Coaching

Coaching is the most important part of training from a leadership perspective. The fact is that the return on investment for training quadruples from 22% to 88% when reinforced by in-field coaching and reinforcement, according to Ventana Research.

Practice: Shadowing a manager or another employee is an effective way to learn. Not only do you get to see it done right firsthand, you also get the benefit of hands-on training and the opportunity to provide immediate feedback and direction to drive the right behaviors. After any training event, managers should schedule one-on-one or small group coaching sessions and ask two key questions. One, what did you learn? And two, how will you apply what you learned to our daily environment?

TIP: Discover the huge effect on profitability by changing the performance of your “B” managers into “A” managers in this free white paper, http://bettermanagers.com/whitepapers_profit1.

  1. 4.       Provide Follow-Up Content

Managers or trainers can take critical points from the training content and make them into short “reminders”. By consistently keeping the lessons top of mind, they will be more likely to remember and implement them in their day-to-day habits. Present information across various vehicles to keep in front of employees such as: daily planners, handouts, internal posters in a common area or a short huddle before/after shifts.

Practice: Doing a daily 15 minute huddle is a great place to start. Plan out your topics then share them to reinforce the desired behaviors of your team. This will open the doors of communication and focus everyone on what is important.

  1. Assign Homework

By thinking through things outside of your 4-walls, it helps reframe the training. And by offering supporting information, aside from what you’ve presented, you can show the value even more.

Practice: Management should assign follow-up work and assignments for their staff. It could be reading additional information, practicing the new technique or method and recording the outcomes to share later; or seeing what competitors do differently. This builds accountability, which again keeps the new information top of mind. The homework can be called a “learning project” and can be applied after meetings, training workshops, coaching sessions, etc. Management should assign follow-up work and assignments for their staff. It could be reading additional information, practicing the new technique or method and recording the outcomes to share later; or seeing what competitors do differently. This builds accountability, which again keeps the new information top of mind. The homework can be called a “learning project” and can be applied after meetings, training workshops, coaching sessions, etc.

  1. 6.       Offer Assessments Early and Often

You don’t know how successful you are unless you assess it. Testing staff is a great way to measure their progress and discover the areas where you need to retrain. If you can see that certain people aren’t catching on as quickly, you can implement other techniques to get them up to speed.

Practice: Try these following techniques. Remember to track results so you can refer back.

1. Do a pop quiz to make sure they’ve got what you’ve taught engrained by having them teach it back to you.

2. When building a larger skill set, have them write out what they learned in detail. Writing promotes better learning. The act of writing literally stimulates more of the brain and imprints the information, promoting the ability to remember it.

3. If the training is centered on behaviors or implementing new procedures, have them act out the desired behavior in a role-play practice session. This is especially important to get employees comfortable with the behavioral changes you are looking for.

TIP: Get more information about developing your employees with this blog, “How to Identify and Create Top Performers” http://blog.bettermanagers.com/2012/08/29/identify-or-create-top-performers/.

Set Your Employees Up for Long-term Success

Training takes some effort not only by the person running it, but also what falls on the shoulders of the recipient. Research shows that adults remember and learn more in the long run when information is fed to them a little at a time over an extended period. With this in mind, it’s not a good idea to schedule a long training session that will cover multiple topics in the same day. Instead, feed the information in short bursts to give employees the opportunity to digest the details and process how they are going to implement. This way new or expanding content can be broken down and built upon to create a strong foundation and ultimately, a wealth of long-lasting knowledge.

No matter how much training you do, how in-depth, or how great, it won’t be a living, breathing component of your organization without a tool in place to drive it home on a daily basis. You must reinforce the right actions done the right way at the right time.

Sources

  1. “The 6 Methods of Training Reinforcement” by Evan Carmichael, www.evancarmichael.com/Sales/5875/6-Methods-of-Training-Reinforcement.html
  2. The Sales Progress Blog- Progression Of a Sales Leader , www.salesprogress.com/coaching-leadership/?Tag=Training%20reinforcement
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