Why our internal training is like a cup of tea

The first week of 2016 is a perfect time to start doing things differently (specifically – better). So we at Platypus Digital have our heads down learning this week.

But we aren’t just sending individuals out for a single day of training that nobody else in their team even knows about. Instead, I’ve identified areas I want us to be better at as an agency, and made a list.

Then we’ve all added to that list with areas we know we need to improve individually, areas we’d like external validation of our abilities in, and nailing those little tips and tricks we’ve picked up but not got round to implementing.

It’s like making a cup of tea.

Anyone can identify the need

The need for each training can come from different people. It can come from me, as the guy running things and setting our overall direction. It can come from the individual, as the person closest to their own work. Or it can come from a colleague (always in a supportive way, never in a critical way).

Just like a cup of tea. Sometimes you make yourself one when you need it, sometimes a colleague just knows you need one, grabs two mugs and heads for the kettle.

It needs to be good training

If you’re going to go to all the bother of training, you need to know it’s going to be decent.

You need to know that other people in your line of work in your sector have had that training, and seen the quality of their work improve as a result.

Google know their products pretty well, so for us, their online qualifications will be the perfect mark of quality in those areas.

And if I need a cup of tea, it needs to be a decent brand of tea to hit the spot (I hate Earl Grey – has to be Tetley’s or Yorkshire Tea).

Training needs time to settle in

This is the far and away the most important bit.

All too often, we attend a one day training course, away from the office. We get interested and excited by what we learn. We return to the office, and colleagues say, “How was the training?” (assuming they even knew you were at a training course). You say, “Great!”.

Then you settle back into your work routine, almost exactly as it was before the training.

This isn’t just a waste of the training fee. It’s a cost to the organisation in lost efficiency and improved team performance that they could have saved by implementing the training.

So we at Platypus Digital aren’t just taking a day each – we’re all taking a whole week to learn, together. We’ll learn new skills individually, make notes on what will change as a result, and come together at the end of the week.

We’ll write new report templates, map out how new services will be delivered, and implement the training across the organisation there and then.

Just like a tea bag needs two minutes to brew, training needs time to embed.

Three training takeaways

  1. You don’t work alone, so don’t train alone – train with your team, and don’t leave till you’ve implemented what you’ve learned.
  2. Make sure the training is for you – ensure people in your role in your sector have benefited from that training before.
  3. Let anyone suggest training for you – not just you, not just your boss, but those you work with. Make sure it’s constructively suggested, and when it is, take it that way.

 

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