Your team is awesome. Each member is doing what they need to do to get the job done. However, over time you’ve come to realize that the even amongst your awesome team members, the differences in the way they approach their tasks to lead to varied results. E.g. the way Patrick completes a project is very different from the way that Veronica completes it. Also, Patrick and Veronica occasionally miss the mark on achieving the results you believe they should be achieving. On the other hand, when top performer Karen does a project, you are ecstatic. Karen gets amazing results to the point where the clients write rave reviews about her. You are now convinced – everyone needs to approach their projects more like Karen.
Your top employees have the knowledge, understanding of company culture, and the personal touch that can help make your business more successful. The key is to unlock the potential of the best and brightest ideas from your team. With just a little effort, you can enlist the help of skilled employees to uplift the rest of the team to a new level of excellence.
Imagine how standardizing your processes according to the best practices pioneered by top performers like Karen could help your employees work more efficiently and improve the performance. When your organization is quickly growing, and your team is doing ad-hoc solutions, it becomes increasingly difficult to make sure that the best ideas are diffused across your organization. This becomes ten times more challenging when you have multiple offices.
Benefits of getting your top performers involved in the training process
Getting your team involved in the training process will reap the following benefits:
- Effective application of the material. You can ensure that the employee not only gets the information but that they are also effectively applying it to their specific role when you have your top employees helping to train them. Getting the day to day application knowledge first hand from the people who use it daily is, quite simply, the best way to get them to hit the ground running.
- A more engaging experience. You are offering your team a more engaging learning and bonding experience when they can have a hands-on experience with a team member that currently knows the ins and outs of the company. It builds a more cohesive team for the employees to be learning from each other.
- Easier evaluation of employees. It is easier to evaluate the progress of employees when your established team members help with the training process because your experts know how the role should be performed and can clearly see any performance gaps in their trainees.
- Adds additional structure to the learning experience. It is also vital to involve your top employees who are already performing the job in the training process. One of the most effective ways to learn is to engage in intelligent conversation with an expert on a subject. Mentoring and shadowing are an excellent supplement to research and independent learning.
- Connects knowledge seekers to knowledge creators. You can tap into your top employees’ experiences by seeking their feedback in creating a training program that is specific to their function. They should also share their best practices and tips with the team.
A word of warning – expert employees don’t automatically make expert trainers
You might initially conclude that your most experienced employees would automatically make your best trainers. However, that is not automatically the case. Over time, we can develop what is referred to as an unconscious competence. We become so experienced that we can expertly accomplish the task without even thinking. E.g. we all seem to be able to type our passwords correctly without even having to think, but when we have to think of the password, it takes us a minute to remember it. Once you reach that level of unconscious competence, it can be difficult to train others. That process could be frustrating to both the trainer and the trainee. There are, however, ways to help turn expert employees who might not naturally be expert trainers into some of your company’s best training resources.
How to help your expert employees be excellent trainers
In order to properly utilize your employees as excellent trainers, you want to ensure that your employees have the following skills:
- They know how to perform the necessary tasks.
- They know how to explain the tasks.
Both of those points are necessary in order to have your current employees truly be beneficial to your training program.
If your expert employee knows how to perform the tasks, but is not fully prepared to explain the tasks you can:
1. Have your employee participate in mock training sessions with their team members. These mock training sessions can help your employee gain valuable training experience and help to make them more comfortable with the training process. Also, it helps them understand their unconscious competence, and become aware of their own best practices that they have become habituated to.
Action Item: Your expert employees can practice training others within their department different aspects of their role until they feel comfortable training on the same material. Your employees can also provide valuable feedback to one another based on these mock training sessions.
2. Seek the feedback of your employees to determine the strength and weakness of each potential trainer. If you have employees that perform similar roles, you can have each employee train only the portions of the material that they both know how to perform and know how to explain.
Action Item: If you have two-star employees that both perform sales, you can have each employee explain what they are comfortable teaching and have them train others together. This helps each of your star employees focus on their strengths with the safety of having their colleague there to help train on the things that they may not feel as confident about.
3. Leverage psychology to help your current employees become expert trainers. The issue may not be that your employee lacks the skill to be an excellent trainer, but that they lack the confidence or motivation to do so. Leverage psychology to spark the internal drive of your employees.
Action Item: Consider integrating game mechanics and social engagement such as points, medals, badges and leaderboards, social tools profiles, comments, chats, and walls. Your trainees can collaborate making learning more efficient, effective and delightful.
Your best employees have the potential to be your best trainers. By utilizing your top employees, you can grant your organization access to the most efficient and successful ways of serving customers. How do you currently use your employees for training programs? Do you have any tips that you want to share? Leave your comments below!