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Training and Employee Engagement

I tried to get out of the course prior to joining, but on reflection I have learned so much and have gathered so many ideas which I can apply to my work and my life. It also helped me to notice where I’m missing opportunities with resource that I have at my disposal to make my life easier and better.

This recent feedback from one of my Lean Process Improvement candidates, really highlights how training can have a positive, influential impact on employee mindset and open the door to strategic Change.

It also underlines a number of important aspects surrounding employee engagement and preparing candidates for training.

This particular candidate works in the field with daily, face to face customer interaction. Like many employees, he juggles changing business priorities and tasks, aiming to deliver the best value possible with the processes, tools and guidelines available. It is no surprise then, that receiving an unexpected message asking him to attend a five-day training course did not feel like a business priority, or an easy mission to schedule into an already full agenda.

Regardless of size, location and industry, this is not an uncommon situation for many of the training courses I have led over the years. All too often, candidates arrive without any prior knowledge of why they are attending, both from an individual and holistic company viewpoint. They regularly have no information regarding what they are expected to bring to the table, or what is in it for them. Many candidates admit that their first reaction is always to try and get out of attending.

This is particularly concerning for front-line staff. For me, they are the face of a company, they set the precedence to the outside world for an organisation’s brand and culture. They own the relationship with our consumers and hold a front seat for collecting crucial voice of customer data – their frustrations, priorities and values. These candidates are also the users and beneficiaries of the processes and decisions made internally. Their feedback and support are utterly vital in order to remain competitive, deliver strategic Change, and ensure its ultimate long-term success and sustainability.

My tip for success is to ensure you clearly communicate, as early as possible, why candidates should attend training. Emphasise how they will benefit, what they should prepare in advance, and how it supports the wider company values. Without sincere management engagement, planning and communication, we will only engage in a style of ‘sheep-dip’ training, missing the opportunity to understand both our employees and customers better. When accurately engaged, we drive an inclusive culture that creates a sense of fulfilment, driving performance and motivating employees to deliver their best.

To reinforce these aspects, managers should work with candidates upfront to link the course back to a specific assignment or qualification. Training is significantly more effective if it is backed with practical experience gained from implementing real projects to help the culture change. This also ensures any new tools and techniques are immediately applied in the workplace, allowing organisations to begin their Lean journey, realise benefits and explore opportunities.

ChangeWise believes employee engagement is the foundation for successful Change. Training and coaching your people to use simple continuous improvement techniques will enable your organisation to continuously adapt and stay ahead in a constantly changing and challenging environment. To find out more, contact us at info@changewise.co.uk

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