We all understand why it is crucial to train employees. However, it is common to see companies not make training a priority. Oftentimes, companies think training programs have to be expensive or they might have to sacrifice too much time and resources into building a robust internal training program. These understandable but frankly misconstrued fears, result in training programs being cut or placed on the back burner for the time being.
If you're on the fence about implementing a training program in your company, you should consider the benefits it could bring to your business. Employees who are well trained:
- Represent your company at a high level. This enables clients and partners who come in contact with your company to have a good and memorable experience.
- Can create and establish effective and inclusive processes to increase productivity in your company.
- Are knowledgeable about the industry and positioning your company as thought-leaders in the space.
- Able to provide great customer experiences that will build up your company's reputation and attract top talent.
So now comes the tricky part, the job to be done is to develop a meaningful training program that can prepare your top employees to be future leaders in your company.
Here are three ways that you can effectively train your top employees in preparation for their leadership roles in your company:
1. Hands-on Training
Richard Branson once said, “You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.” The old adage, “Learn By Doing” has been and continues to be the best way for individuals to learn. Employers can apply that proven concept to their training programs.
Allow employees the opportunity to try out and experiment with their new skills in a controlled environment. By giving them projects that require those particular skills, employees are able to practice what they have learned, further develop their skills, and build confidence in themselves.
Employees can also collaborate together in groups on projects. This will give employees experience in working as a group, further developing their soft skills such as communication, delegating work, leadership, etc. These types of skills are crucial for any leader in a company.
Giving employees challenges to complete is another hands-on training that will help your employee further develop their skills and become more comfortable using them. In contrast to a longer project where employees can practice their newfound skills throughout one consistent project, challenges can be used to help your employees quickly test out their skills in multiple different scenarios.
By practicing certain skills in different scenarios, employees will learn how to diversify those skills and how to mold those skills to solve different problems. Leaders in a company must know how to wisely manipulate and implement simple skills in a variety of scenarios, so to effectively solve problems in diverse amounts of ways.
2. Ongoing Feedback
Remaining in touch with your employees and their progress is essential in being able to create and identify future leaders. Find a time to have designated contact sessions. Create an environment where employees feel comfortable airing out concerns, giving feedback, receiving feedback and ultimately being transparent and consistent with communication.
These designated contact sessions should be consistent, especially in the first few months. Perhaps set up a weekly schedule for the first few months and then move to bi-weekly or monthly sessions after. However, don’t get lost in setting up a schedule and robotically have sessions. The idea behind having these meetings is to create an environment where transparency and communication is king.
While creating an ongoing feedback loop is important, perhaps even more important is the actual feedback that’s given and the way it is accepted and applied by the employee. Always have a vision of how your company must grow and the type of people it will take to achieve that vision.
Start training new employees as soon as you hire, think where your employees may fit in the grand scheme and the role they will play in the coming years. Guide your employees into achieving that same vision and help them improve in areas where they are lacking the necessary skills to be that future leader. Be consistent in following-up with their progress, be transparent where they need to improve and be sure to celebrate their growth and their wins.
3. Don’t settle on motivating, give them vision
Oftentimes, employees hit the ground running and start off strong. Then you see some begin to decelerate and even stagnate over time. The most common reactions to this deceleration and stagnation of employees are usually either pouring time into motivating them or simply letting them go. However, neither of those reactions creates powerful future leaders for your business.
Pouring massive amounts of resources and time to motivate employees is simply not efficient and guaranteed success is not included. Letting them go not only doesn’t create future leaders, it could demoralize other employees and also restart your cycle of creating future leaders. You now have to hire a new employee, which is always a gamble.
Motivating employees is difficult because different people have different motivators. So help employees look internally and tap into their personal motivators. A great way to do this is to help each employee see the vision of your company and how he or she fit into the present and future of the vision.
At ProSky, each employee is on a pathway. Pathways are filled with projects, challenges, trainings, evaluations, and other contact sessions to help develop employees into leaders and most importantly, these employees see a path of progression and a light at the end of the tunnel to success.
Both employers and employees can track the progress of pathways and celebrate each win as they move forward on their pathway. Employees are able to tap into their internal motivators to complete steps in a pathway and their progress becomes tangible to them. It lights a fire in them as they see the vision of the company and how they actually fit into the puzzle which will keep them staying around longer.
This inspires employees to be better. They see whom they must become in order to fit into where they see themselves in the company and they see how they can get there. They take ownership of their successes and failures and come to work each day hungry to move closer to their goals.
Now, time for a tiny plug: The ProSky platform, which is available to any company, gives any company the ability to create and/or implement pathways internally. And the good news is that it is SUPER EASY!
I dare you to implement these three concepts into your business. If all goes well, you will have employees turned leaders, with ambition, vision, and talent. Their performance will shine. They will have the ability to influence other employees and potentially even create future leaders for you. As an awesome company, you have already invested so much in your employees. Now turn these employees into future leaders of your company. It isn’t very difficult to do. You won’t regret it.