No sooner have you arrived at the beach or in the mountains than Widactic is already urging you to prepare for back getting back to work. What an idea!

But after all, why not? You can prepare yourself, little by little ,to avoid the sudden change between relaxation and work.

In 5 minutes a week, Widactic offers you 7 steps for a smooth, fresh start back to work.

The time for a sunbathing break, or a break in your hike and you will have the essential keys to come back zen, in the training room.

Happy reading and good preparation for your return to your trainees!

Immersion and observation: an essential phase

Take a day or two to immerse yourself in the environment of your future trainees. You will be able to discover their daily professional life, understand their role and detect or “feel” difficulties not previously mentioned. This will give you an “informal” and unfiltered view of the strengths and weaknesses of your future participants.

For example, listen to discussions between participants and their customers. Are they comfortable in their communications? What is the quality level of the relationship with the customer? What are the recurring issues? What about the customers, how do they react? These observations will allow you to identify needs not expressed before the training, to understand the profession and to enrich yourself with the specific vocabulary of the profession.

Meeting with your trainees before the first day of training can also help to alleviate any doubts about the course or the content of the program. These first exchanges on the job are an investment that helps gain the confidence of future trainees, saves time, and brings the group to its optimum working capacity more quickly.

Widactic places such importance on this observation and exchange phase that immersion is systematically included with our training offers.

Talk to the manager or the person in charge of the training

This has been proven and verified over and over again. The manager’s involvement is a determining factor in the process of appropriation of the messages disseminated during the sessions and in their implementation.

Take the time to discuss with the company’s managers or executives to detail the training request and clarify the program’s objectives.

Depending on the situation or the complexity of the request, you can draft a questionnaire for managers and trainees, which will give you a “formal” vision of the expectations of both parties.

Use the information gathered as a resource

When designing your program, don’t think of the information you collect (your personal notes or questionnaires) as just a guideline, but as a training resource. Taking into account the audience and its environment is fundamental in the construction of an effective training program. It is the first step in pedagogical engineering.

You will therefore build a program based on what you have “lived” and learned during your immersion. Plus, it doesn’t matter if there is a rule that says a game or an exercise must be placed at a certain stage. The only question to ask is, “Does this serve my ultimate educational purpose?” If not, you need to feel free to bypass this rule.

The most important thing is to consider the trainees’ profiles when constructioning your training progression, and to move forward with the final objective as a common thread.

If you take the time to properly identify and analyze your audience, you will be able to move forward much more quickly in making the right choices of content, training materials, and activities.

Successful training depends on :

  • The personal involvement of managers in the creation process, in the follow-up of the program and in its implementation in situ. It is this involvement that enhances the value of training in the eyes of the teams and demonstrates its importance.
  • An adaptation of the facilitator to each group. An old hand in training used to say: “training programs are designed not to be followed to the letter“. The unwavering rule is to adapt to the group (while keeping the educational objective in perspective), not to follow a PowerPoint. It is not up to the learners to adapt to the program; it is up to the facilitator to juggle skillfully between the steps of the program, or to skip a topic if he or she feels it is out of context.

Managers want to assist in training. What should I do?

It is common to see managers wanting to take the training with their teams. This is a legitimate request that cannot be held against them; it demonstrates their willingness to be involved in the training process. That’s what we’re looking for, right?

It is also important that managers are informed of the messages conveyed during training to avoid giving paradoxical instructions to their teams.

However, including managers with their teams in the training presents risks. The most obvious one being the freedom of speech which will inevitably be restricted. In the manager’s presence, the trainees will dodge sensitive subjects, even if the manager wants to be relaxed, open to all subjects and close to his teams, the exchanges will suffer despite his or her best intentions.

However, freedom of speech is essential, especially when the group is starting up (we will discuss this subject in more detail in step 5). At this stage, the facilitator should encourage everyone to speak up and encourage the group to express itself freely and unjudgmentmentally. This expression will create the conditions of trust with the facilitator, and the group will find its optimum mode of operation.

The fear of expressing oneself freely can also hinder the effectiveness of activities such as brainstorming or problem identification and solving which, by nature, are based on frank expression.

So how do we go about it? The ideal solution, when possible, is to organize a session for a group of managers, and have them experience the same training as their teams. This will reassure them of the content and inform them of the principle messages delivered during the sessions.

In any case, it is recommended that at the end of each training session, the manager participates in the closing debriefing and collects the opinions and feedback of his or her team on the training they have just attended.

To conclude, we can summarize the winning components by :

Observe + Exchange + Question + Re-think + Plan + Adapt = Succeed!

Next time, for step 2 of our series, we will address the topic of the training venue.

In the meantime, enjoy your vacation!