I like to think of training as a roadside attraction you visited on your last vacation. You may make several stops on your vacation. Some of the stops are interesting. Some are fun, scary, or famous. At the end of your vacation, how much do you really remember? Chances are you took some pictures, checked in with your friends, and maybe even brought home some souvenirs. The memory is strong for a week or two, but even this amazing experience that you cherished will start to fade.

Training isn’t always as exciting as a vacation. It’s certainly not as memorable for most people. There are some steps you can take to keep that experience alive after the event has passed.

I’m proud to belong to an organization that believes in training. At Nexstar Network, we live in a very training-focused environment. We train the members who belong to our network and we also train a lot internally for our own team. As a result, we have learned that the act of training is only one part of the equation. To be successful, you must follow up.

Share the experience with the rest of the team while the energy is still high.

Have your employee talk about what they learned and how to apply it. Sharing what they learned not only enlightens the rest of the team, but the act of training helps the attendee retain that knowledge better. We call that participatory learning. The highest level of training retention happens when we teach others. It’s a double win.

For some people, attending training is a scary thing that is outside their daily routine or comfort zone. When a coworker shares the experience with the rest of the team, it can remove some of the fear and anxiety that can also be associated with training. The goal is to help them become excited about their future training.

Review the training content with the attendee in their future coaching sessions.

This is kind of like looking at the pictures from that vacation. It keeps the memory alive for the employee. It also refreshes your understanding of the content. Ask them to share their notes, “aha” moments, and ideas from the training. There can be some great ideas flowing when we are in that training mindset that will help the organization. Don’t miss out on those nuggets.

Identify the processes that were learned so you can reinforce them.

If we don’t reinforce the new habits, the old habits will win out. Look for metrics that can be tracked and measured. If you can measure it, you can coach to it. We can track processes and we can track results. For example, reviewing options on invoices would be a process. Tracking average ticket or sold hours would be a key performance indicator. That is a result.

I’ll cover more ground on training follow-up in my next post.

Publication date: 11/7/2017