You've invested in sending your people to training. That's great! But it's not enough. Spending a few minutes with your employee after the training improves their engagement and reduces potential turnover.
Investing in your employees builds trust by demonstrating your active effort to “enroll” them in engagement with the company. This is a key role of the manager. Increasing employee engagement has the potential to improve performance, lower errors, improve customer service, encourage emotional investment in the work (i.e. freely giving more than asked), and substantially increase job retention.
A few simple things you can do to enhance this effect is to voice your desire for a continued win-win relationship after you've sent your employees to training. Below are easy scripts to follow--depending on your relationship with the person being trained.
FOR THE DIRECT SUPERVISOR OF THE INDIVIDUAL BEING TRAINED
Allot: 15 minutes
Key Objective: The gist of this is to find out what they learned and how you can support them.
Prior to the training, schedule a brief meeting to occur sometime soon after the conclusion of the training: “Hey, I know you are doing the ___________ training. I’d like to touch base with you for about 15 minutes to hear about it and learn how I can help you once you complete it. Can we get something on the calendar now?”
Important instructions: For this conversation, follow (or adapt) the script below. Keep in mind, this is not a performance evaluation, nor is it the time to tell them things you would like for them to improve. It is only about them. You just listen and support. That’s all. Use your best active listening skills. Anything they say is valid because it is their belief. Listen. Write notes. Be neutral. Do not disagree. (To learn how to give and receive feedback, register for our workshop The Art and Science of Feedback | A Master Class.)
Manager’s Script: “Thanks for meeting with me. I want to thank you for investing in yourself by going through the training. I just want to touch base and find out a little bit more about what you learned that will help you to reach your own goals.”
“What did you find helpful?”
“I know when we go to any training, it usually gives us new ideas to try. Do you have any things like that?”
“So, here’s what I understand you to be saying you will be doing……”
“How can I support you with these things?”
“So, what would be helpful is….” (repeat back what they told you)
“Ok, so the plan is…”
“Great. Thanks for sharing this with me. This really helps me with knowing how to support you so we can work together for a long time. Let’s check-in about this again soon”
Before wrapping up, schedule a 5-minute follow-up. If there are actions you promised, like looking into another resource for them, be sure you do them. Do the item ASAP so you can report back the result, whether it was positive or negative. Either has been proven to demonstrate trust over time.
A word of caution: If the employee says something negative about the company, do not affirm or deny the comment. It is a best practice to not throw the company under the bus by agreeing with something negative. Simply do what you can to advocate for the employee’s needs. Sometimes the answer will be yes and sometimes it will be no. Either way, take the request seriously. If the answer is no and you can share why not, do so because it helps the employee learn the organization's perspective, which increases buy-in, engagement, and their sense of value to the organization.
The key thing that improves by having this 15-minute conversation is communication with the supervisor. Statistically, this is the key determinant of job satisfaction and employee retention.
FOR THE NEXT LEVEL MANAGER OF THE INDIVIDUAL BEING TRAINED
Allot: 5 minutes
Key Objective: Your job here is to strengthen the support the manager is giving this individual.
Within a short time after the training, seek out the individual for a face-to-face conversation or by telephone. This should not be a formal meeting and it should not be conducted by email.
Important instructions: Be sure you are as eager and smiling as you are with a new customer. Because that’s what this is. You want them to know you value them (like you do your customers).
Executive’s Script: “Hey, you did the ___________ training. How did that go? What did you learn? That’s great! Make sure you keep [your manager] posted so he/she/they can help you out with supporting your needs. We want to be sure we can help you be here a long time!”
There you go. Easy peasy. Ok. 15 + 5 is 20 minutes ... but that's all the organization needs to commit. It's a small price to pay to keep your investment in this person going. Now you have more time to go back to working on the business.