Training is essential to the success of your team, no matter if you’re a corporate organization, a government institution, or an academic association. By offering training to your team members, you can engage them enough to outperform untrained teams by up to 202%.
“No problem,” you may say. “I can easily give a presentation on what we expect from the team.”
The thing is, not any old kind of training will do if you want to see the results among your team members on a day-to-day basis. You need to develop an effective training plan to set your team up for success at your organization.
Planning an effective team training event
You can’t rush through a training event that you put together a few days before and expect your team to develop a thorough understanding of what you want to teach them. You need to organize an event with structure and informative materials that take place in an appropriate venue.
I know what you’re thinking: that sounds like a lot more work than the PowerPoint presentation you had in mind.
Well, it is. But then again, you’ll also get much better and longer-lasting results from your team. In fact, with a comprehensive training event at your organization, you can look forward to:
Higher morale and a happier, more motivated team
Increased engagement and improved performances
Better results and less turnover for your organization
To enjoy these benefits and ensure the highest ROI for your training, you need to organize your team training event with thought and care. Read on to learn the six steps that can help you ensure a successful team training event.
Steps for planning an effective team training event
Carry out a skills gap analysis
Decide on learning objectives
Build out your training
Make it enjoyable
Find the right venue
Evaluate your training
1. Carry out a skills gap analysis
An effective training event doesn’t just take into consideration what your organization needs from the team. It also considers what your team members need to succeed in your organization.
A skills gap analysis will help you determine what you should cover in your team training event. To get started, create a list of all the desired skills for your team in the order of their importance. On a scale of one to five, with one being basic competence and five being expert competence, choose the level of competence you would like your team to have for each skill. Then, rate the current level of competence among your team members based on performance reviews or assessments.
Still not exactly sure how to rate your team? Ask your team members for feedback, either through in-person interviews or surveys. What skills do they think they need to improve or think they should develop for a better work performance?
2. Decide on the learning objectives
Learning objectives are developed from your skills gap analysis and will form the very backbone of your team training event. Ultimately, they should communicate what your team will be able to do by the end of the training event and beyond.
These objectives should be clear enough that they can be used to set the learning expectations among your team at the start of your training and allow you to accurately measure progress at the end of your event. One way to develop clear learning objectives is to use the framework for SMART goals. That is, your learning objectives should be: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based.
For a sales team, for instance, your learning objective might be, “By the end of the training event, the team will be able to use five new closing techniques.” Your learning objectives can also be more long term, as in this example, “The team will be able to use the five new closing techniques from the training event to increase sales revenue by 15% within three months.”
It all depends on what’s “SMART” for your team and your organization.
3. Build out your training
Now you know what you need to cover in your training and what you want to achieve, it’s time to decide on the format of your event. In other words, how are you going to present the training?
Classroom-style training can work for larger teams that need to learn specific skills, while workshop-style training is ideal for smaller teams that will be developing soft skills. It’s also important to consider different learning styles, depending on what resonates with your team.
This is why it’s a good idea to get their feedback during the skills gaps analysis stage. You may find out that your team finds it easier to learn through:
Auditory training, like lectures and question-and-answer sessions
Kinesthetic training, such a project-based learning
Adult Learning Theory states that adult learners also require an environment where they feel comfortable making mistakes and honing new skills. They need to know how each part of the training will support their development, and they appreciate being a part of the planning process. That’s yet another reason why you should involve your team in the event organization.
Once you’ve figured out the contents and format of your team training event, you’re ready to create all the materials — from your event agenda and announcements to the handouts and slides.
4. Make it enjoyable
If you’re not too careful, team training events can quickly lead to information overload. Fun activities can give attendees a much-appreciated break and a more memorable experience — even if they’re still educational.
You can include games and contests to practice the learning material or use the latest technology to encourage team engagement and interaction throughout the entire event. Run live polls or Q&A sessions, and display the answers and questions on a big screen to capture attention and pique your team’s interest. You can even try live-streaming your event to social media to record the fun and offer insights into what your team is getting up to.
Fun activities also have other important benefits. Has your entire team spent time together? If they haven’t, this is a great opportunity for everyone to get to know one another in a safe and friendly space. You can include funny ice breakers in your training to help everyone feel relaxed as they become acquainted.
Maybe your team members already know one another, but they haven’t had the chance to work closely together. Your team training event can also serve as team building, which will strengthen relationships and make your event more enjoyable.
5. Find a venue that supports your training needs
The location for your event depends on the number of team members and the format of the training. You need to be sure that your location has enough capacity and the appropriate amenities to support the event, such as tables, chairs, and a kitchen area or catering services.
If your team is quite small, you may consider holding your training event in a conference room in your office building. After all, everyone knows where it is and you have everything you need there. Just remember that ambiance plays a huge role in training. Giving your team a break from the office may engage and inspire them for the training.
You should also consider the accessibility of your venue to ensure all team members can attend the training event. Be sure to start looking early if you want to secure an off-site location. You will probably want to visit the venue and you may also be required to get insurance for your event. Allowing plenty of time is critical to getting your ideal venue — and everything in order.
6. Evaluate your training
Your team training event is over, which means now it’s the moment of truth.
Did your team meet the learning objectives? To get immediate feedback on the effectiveness of your training, you can ask your team members for their thoughts. Surveys are a great way to get honest and valuable opinions on your event — from the team’s favorite parts of the training to their suggestions for improvement.
After your training event, you will also need to monitor your team’s performance for a period of time. This will allow you to see whether the training has resonated with them and determine whether they are meeting any long-term learning objectives. You can also test your team on the training information every so often to keep the information top of mind.
Of course, as with any training, you’ll need to offer regular events to build the skills of new team members and refresh the skills of existing team members. With every event you organize, you gain more feedback and experience, which will help you refine the process for your team training event.
Effective training relies on a successful event
The kind of event you offer determines the effectiveness of the team training. That means you need to plan your training carefully and continually improve the event over time. With this approach, you’ll get such great results from your team, you’ll be glad you skipped the boring PowerPoint presentation you might have considered using for training.
Christa Parrish is the Content Marketing Specialist at Whova. As a former translator, she has always been drawn to finding the right words for the right audience. But she isn't only besotted with language. She also loves being at the beach, owning too many scarves, and reading.