Training Tract: Training A New Way for Different Results

By Chris Schneider, Director of Employee Development

As the company grows and our needs evolve, our employee development team is continually searching for new ways to effectively present management skills training. This winter, we explored “branch-centered” training with our maintenance branches, trading in the traditional two-day classroom seminar that occurs in the training space at our corporate campus for a one-day workshop at the branch office.

We found that with this type of training, branch members were more likely to take on an active role in customizing the content of the class specific to their branch. The investment of the days’ time for all branch management and office staff was quickly validated when ideas started flowing and problems at the branch were being solved. Rather than speaking generically about hypothetical situations or nonspecific examples to a group from various branches, we were able to address real and specific problems in the branch and create real-time solutions with branch leadership.

After a short presentation and discussion, the trainer helped facilitate a branch plan to effect a process change. Champions in the branch were appointed to oversee key areas of progress and track milestones that led to the project’s completion. The outcome of this type of training is a revamped business process, as opposed to creating awareness around a concept, which is how traditional training usually works.

Using this new class format during our winter branch visits, our maintenance teams had the opportunity to develop and execute a new process for recruiting. Early indications show that the new approach is paying dividends. Ideas are not being lost, but are being transformed into actions and strung together into plans. These plans are now in a better position to be monitored and adapted because the entire branch understands the desired outcome.

In the coming months, we plan to apply this branch-centered training method to our Management and Motivation class and will adapt it to the new, one-day workshop format. By doing so, we hope to help branches generate solid prospects for hiring and retaining their employees by teaching them leadership, development, and communication skills.