“As a training administrator, how do I help employees find time for on-the-job training?” Part 2
In part one of this post, we acknowledged that finding time for on-the-job training for employees is one of the biggest challenges multifamily training administrators face. The first strategy we covered was developing a deeper understanding of what each employee’s typical day looks like in the hopes of discovering some hidden opportunities for maximizing time. Now that you’ve spent some time observing, talking to the employee about his or her day and/or having the employee keep a basic one-day log, it’s time to do some planning.
Clear the Way
The first step is to take a look at your notes and observations. What do you see? As a reminder from part 1, here are some possibilities:
- Are there any meetings that take longer than they need to or happen more frequently than they need to?
- Is there any paperwork that could be more streamlined?
- Are there any tasks being handled by multiple people when only one is needed?
- Are there certain times of day that tend to be less busy?
- What times of day does the employee feel most and least energetic? (Everyone has energetic peaks and valleys throughout the day.)
- What does the employee feel are his or her biggest distractions?
- Is an unresolved problem causing repetitive work?
- Do you notice any patterns leading to unproductivity?
These are all potential obstacles that you might be able to improve or eliminate altogether.
Is it in your power to clear anything unnecessary away? Could you suggest a more streamlined process? Is there a distraction you might help eliminate? Is there a problem you could help resolve? Even one small adjustment to an employee’s day can help clear time that could be used for training, time that over weeks and months can be quite substantial. And remember, alleviating obstacles in an employee’s schedule has the added benefit of improving his or her job satisfaction.
The next step, even if you weren’t able to carve out any additional time, is to look at the employee’s day to determine the best time for training. “But there isn’t any time for training,” you or the employee might say. Well, let’s imagine for right now that a time must be set for training regardless, that even if the employee’s entire day is eaten up by other work, it is mandatory that a training time be designated. Which 30-minute period would be the least difficult? Here are some factors to consider when making this determination:
- When is the workload slowest?
- When is there more employee coverage?
- When do there tend to be fewer incoming outside requests (calls, walk-ins, etc.)?
- When might paperwork be consolidated and shifted elsewhere in the schedule?
- What time simply looks, for any reason, most ideal for training?
- When – and this is important – does the employee feel he or she would be most receptive to training?
While it is not necessary that the employee decide what time of day is designated for training, employee feedback can be very valuable on this point. Selecting a time when the employee will be most receptive not only makes training more likely to occur, it also makes the employee more likely to comprehend and retain the training. An employee who knows he or she dislikes training may do better at a time of day when he or she is sharpest. On the other hand, another employee who deals with customers all day, may view training as a kind of reprieve from being “on” and like it to serve as a kind of break in the afternoon, for example.
Once these considerations have been factored in, a certain time should reveal itself as ideal, even if the work refuses to clear the way. No matter, for right now, this is “training time.” Whether it’s 9:00 – 9:30 am or 2:15 – 2:45 pm. Write it down and have the employee write it down.
Training will rarely happen if a time hasn’t been specified for it, and you’ve taken the first step of specifying the time. You’ve “built it”; next time we’ll cover how “they will come.”