Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Understanding the Need

You can train people until you are blue in the face but it won't affect anything unless you've already assessed and understand the need.  Most of the time, and especially if it is mandatory, people do not want to attend the trainings offered because they think there is nothing new to learn.  While there can be meaning in going back to the 'ole tried and true trainings once in a while, I encourage you to step out of the box and ask your trainees what they would like to learn.

A simple survey can go a long way.  For those who want to grow within this profession, whether it be up the chain or in the current position, their interest will be peaked by your fishing for information.  Think about asking open ended questions like these:

What trainings have you attended in the past?
Ask this question to see what has been given in the past to keep from doing repeat classes.
Which ones did you find most effective? Why?
Knowing which offerings were a big hit will allow you the ability to go back and see what content was covered and in what format the information was given.  While you may not want to reuse content, you can certainly reuse format.
Are there topics you would like to see covered in the future?
This is the real question you want answered.  The key to unlocking your staff's wants.
In what format do you prefer your training to be delivered?
This question will give you information on which types of trainings work best.  Every person learns in different ways and this question will allow you to peer inside the minds of your staff members.

Thinking in terms of McGregor's Theory X and Theory Y and Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, staff seek out knowledge and growth.  Putting out a survey is the first step toward fostering a healthy work environment by opening up lines of communication.  Of course, what you do with the feedback will play a big role in how your organization will fit into the X or Y continuum.  But for now, I encourage you to just ask a simple question -  "what would you like to learn?"

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