Be methodical

Monday, May 24, 2010

Q. How can I best train my employees?

A. Begin by asking "What competencies do you need to effectively manage and grow your business?"

Your organization will likely require competencies such as strategic leadership, marketing, sales, operations management, technology, customer service, human resources, business and market analysis.

Define the required competencies and then define the knowledge, skills and abilities (SKAs) that make up those competencies.

You want to focus on understanding the key SKAs for the various roles and job types in your organization. The required competencies should be core to your job descriptions, along with the required duties.

How can I best train my employees?

Simply train them over the work. Most employees want to do their jobs well when they are new or there are changes in work process, product, equipment or the actual service they need to be trained to effectively perform their jobs. As an employer you first need to be organized and define the training content and learning objectives

Teaching methods

There are three methods of learning: hearing, seeing and doing. The best way to teach is to incorporate all three modalities to accommodate the various adult learning styles. Explain the process/task while the employee observes, then have the employee do a trial run of the process or task themselves. Provide a handout or quick reference guide of the standard work defined for the employee to reference later.

Select trainer carefully

Leaders often select their best employees to train others. Just because someone is good at doing their job, it doesn't mean they are a good teacher.

In summary, job competencies with delineated knowledge skills and abilities provide the basis to define training objectives and content. hme

Janice Ahlstrom is a partner in the Healthcare Practice of consulting firm Wipfli LLP. Reach her at 414-431-9352 or