by Pete Tosh
Founder, The Focus Group

You’ve done the homework. You know the topic. You’ve identified the key training points that will measurably improve the performance of your organization. You’re excited and enthusiastic about the training event you’ve planned. You’ve publicized the program, but the enthusiasm you’re receiving from employees and the management team is . . . well, ho hum.

training session

Engage the managers before you engage the audience

Why? It’s possible that you’ve missed a critical component. You’re the sole promoter and the employees that could benefit aren’t listening. Maybe you’ve targeted the wrong audience. You definitely need some help.

A critical step for any trainer is to avoid being the only proponent for a training event. You’ve got to involve the managers of the participants. It’s their interest and active participation that can largely determine the success and the impact of your training.

There are three categories of people involved in a successful training event – the participants, the trainer, and the managers of the participants. Research indicates that it’s the managers who have the greatest influence, not just on who attends but also on the effectiveness of the implementation. You may find this surprising, but it makes sense. If managers are involved, they’re more likely to be supportive, especially if they have input regarding the need for training and the content.

Similarly, there are three time periods that impact success – before, during, and after the training event. Involving the managers before the event increases their interest and allows them to communicate the relevance of the training to their teams. Their participation reinforces the topics you will cover. Managers’ engagement after the event is necessary to implement the practical changes that will improve employee performance.

Practical techniques for getting managers involved

Getting buy-in from managers requires some effort, but it’s an effective solution that addresses a lukewarm response from employees. Here are a few techniques to consider:

  1. Anticipate the protests – Develop options and responses to address manager’s time, money, and participant-related objections.
  2. Get commitment in advance – Talk with managers about their desired outcomes and the best means to measure the effectiveness of the training.
  3. Encourage participation – Recruit managers to promote, but also to give introductions and to deliver parts of the message.
  4. Communicate benefits – Define the benefits from the manager’s perspective and emphasize the advantages that they will experience.

Preparing for a training program can be challenging, but inadequate planning is one of the pitfalls that can lead to mediocre results. As a trainer or a facilitator, there’s a lot you need to know to assure the success of your events.  If you’d like to learn more about practical methods you can use to ensure a positive impact from your efforts, you’ll want to attend the next session of Georgia Employers’ Association’s 2016 HR Certificate Series on Friday, September 16.

Additional topics that will be covered in the workshop include:

  • Why training programs often fail and how to avoid the pitfalls
  • The roles of the three “players” at any training event: facilitator, participants, and managers of participants
  • Adult learning best practice facilitation and presentation techniques

Click the link above for more information about the series or register online to attend. Feel free to get in touch with me at 478 746-6891 or with David Whitaker at 478-722-8282 if you have questions about the workshop topics or who should attend.