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class-room-1165890-1280x960As adults, we tend to cringe when we go to in-house training.  It seems that we are conditioned to expect the trainer to be boring, the content to be outdated and the outcome to be marginal,at best.  But, the reality is that investing in employee training is expensive and as a manager, we wouldn’t doit unless we either felt compelled or we had something of real value that we wanted our employees to learn.

Making a few simple changes to the structure of your training can improve the overall effectiveness.

  1. Start the training with a mental exercise.  When most people walk into a meeting, they are thinking about what is happening outside of the room.  The focus needs to switch to what is happening within the room.  This exercise can be a brain teaser or a group activity – something short that can shift the focus to the training that is about to start.
  2. State the objectives of the training.  This includes the overall objective(s) of the training and for each of the sections.
  3. Make sure the trainer knows the material.  Nothing will turn off an employee faster than having someone read the material to them.
  4. Present the material in different ways so the employee can understand it, including visual, verbal and kinesthetic.
  5. Make the training relevant.  For example, if you are conducting safety training, provide examples of situations within the facility that an employee might be exposed.
  6. Explain the why behind for the training. Using “because I said so” might work for a young child, but, when an employee understands the why, he is much more likely to internalize what is being taught.
  7. Set some rules, with specific penalties if they are broken.  For example, one company would fine anyone $1 for coming back from a break late (including the instructors).  While the penalties were collected in the spirit of fun, it definitely sent a message about the importance of being on-time.
  8. Get the employees involved and moving around.  Group activities and team sharing can help break up the lectures while also personalizing the training.

Once the training is complete, make sure to get some input from the attendees.  What did people like?  What needed improvement?  And if possible, tie the training back to an ROI for the business.

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