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Hands-On Training Makes a Difference

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People who know me know that I’m a big believer in the importance of training. That is why this stat I came across recently caught my eye. It was in a blog called “When I Work,” “Forty percent of employees who receive poor (or no) on-the-job training leave within the first year of employment. And when employees leave, it costs you.” That’s a pretty sobering number.

When I analyze that statement the word that jumps out at me though, is “poor.” In other words, not all training is created equal. There is training that is useful, training that is ineffective and training that starts from the “top.”

Is Hands-On Training Valuable?

Most of us are familiar with the role of flight simulators in the training of pilots. I travel a lot, and I can tell you I’m glad pilots learn how to land planes before I get on board. Pilots work through real life scenarios on those simulators. They do not just sit in classrooms and listen to lectures about how to fly. Can you imagine if pilots only had to pass tests that they crammed for the night before, like some of us did when we were in school?

Hands-on training is real-life training. People learn skills because they understand the process and they see what they are learning firsthand rather than just hearing instructions in a lecture. The result is better retention of information as we translate a theory into real understanding.

Is management involved? What is your process? Do you have an in-house training program? Do you encourage training programs with your vendors and employees? It goes without saying that students who are not engaged do not learn as much or as well as those who are engaged. That is where management comes in. It is our responsibility to help our employees become engaged. If it is important to the trainer, then you have to find ways to make it important to the trainee.

We learn by doing: “I hear, and I forget. I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand.”

Results of Hands-On Training

• Less Employee Turnover and More Upbeat Work Environment No one likes to fail, and no one likes making mistakes; that is why training helps with employee retention. Members of the team not only know their jobs, but also have a better understanding of what is expected of them. When employees are trained properly, they will be happier and can take pride in their work.

• Better Retention of Information There have been plenty of studies on this over the years. One research study has stated that learners retain only 20 percent of the material presented through lectures, but that hands-on training can result in as much as a 75-percent retention rate.

• Fewer Mistakes Mistakes cost us time and money. Hands-on training gives employees an opportunity to make those mistakes when they matter least. Some problem-solving solutions are actually counterintuitive, which means the correct action might appear at first to be illogical. We all know mistakes happen; however, it is much better to learn this during training rather than through on-the-job trial and error. Practice, practice, practice!     Trainers are an important component of a successful training. Before everything else, trainers must know their audience, what is important, what you are training on and what the goal is. This is why we at the top need to first understand what really happens at the bottom. First-hand knowledge is priceless, but we need to stay current, because the times are fluid. Things change. The better prepared we are, the more successful the training will be.

Learning, like life, is not a spectator sport; we must be engaged. To help your employees become engaged, you must understand training begins at the top. It’s not only what we do that matters, but also why we do it.

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