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A number of years ago when I was a “wee little chick”, I was called into a room full of managers and told that I had been selected to attend a training.  I wasn’t given any of the reasons behind the training, the goals for attending the training or the duration of the training.  To be honest, I don’t exactly remember my frame of mind when I heard I had been selected, but, according to the trainer, my body language clearly conveyed that I was skeptical of the training and the trainer. Over the duration of the training, I learned a great deal about myself and how to be an effective manager and to this day, I also have the pleasure of calling that trainer my mentor.

This story is a good reminder that most people are skeptical about attending training.  Questions that may run through their mind include: Why am I here?  Is this really important?  What are the motives of the management team in selecting me for this training?

When it comes to preparing your employees, it is critical to be aware of these concerns and if possible, take steps to alleviate those concerns prior to commencing.  Communication is an important part of ensuring your employees get the most out of the training.  This communication can include why the training is important to the employee, why it is important to the company and what the company wants to achieve by investing in the training.

In some instances, training is a precursor to changes that are going to be instituted at the company.  And the employee concerns may be around those changes and how it will impact him.  Acknowledge that and provide the opportunity for the employee to share his or her concerns.

After the training, take some time to get feedback on the training, what worked well and what could be improved.  Not all training needs to be as entertaining as a U2 concert but, it is important that the employee gains the necessary skills, understanding or mindset in order to have the desired impact on the organization.

There is no doubt that if my manager had a 5-minute conversation with me about the training and why they were sending me prior to the initial meeting, I would have been much more receptive to what the trainer was sharing.  Yes, over time I did find value in the training, but, being prepared ahead of time would have allowed me to learn even more. As you send your employees to training, I hope you will learn from my experience and prepare your employees in order to optimize their learning.

For more practical tips for manufacturing professionals to attract, train and retain your hourly workforce, go to