Tell me if this sounds familiar: Your company has staffed its training department with experienced subject matter experts (SMEs) who have the knowledge required to train highly effective employees, but there is something getting lost in translation. Ask yourself: what’s missing? Did your company take the time to work with those SMEs to develop the critical platform skills needed to become highly effective trainers? The effectiveness of SMEs who are new trainers without a formal ‘Train the Trainer’ program often lacks facilitation skills that limit the development of their adult learners.
Many companies know the benefits of Train the Trainer programs to develop the platform skills of their learning and development professionals. Quality platform skills can produce highly skilled instructors who are confident and ready to maximize the effectiveness of your corporate learning program.
What do we mean by platform skills? Platform skills are delivery behaviors that trainers utilize to relay content in a way that fosters better engagement and an enhanced ability for the trainees to apply their new knowledge on the job. These skills include:
- Voice Inflection
- Body Language & Gestures
- Pausing Strategies
- Discussion Facilitation
- Engagement Methods
- Questioning Techniques
When strong platform skills are combined with excellent content design and subject matter knowledge, training is at its most effective.
Now, how can you convince your company to invest in the platform skills of your training staff? Focus on three key benefits:
- Cost Savings: Developing new employees and retraining existing employees is a costly endeavor for both your time and budget. Properly skilled trainers who can transform an ordinary class into a behavior changing session can help control these costs by improving the learning curve of the trainees and reducing the need for future retraining. Not only do you need your trainees to learn the material, you want them to retain the information so they can apply their new skills immediately on the job. And well-trained and engaged personnel are often satisfied employees who will stay at their company longer, resulting in lower employee turnover rates.
- Keep Talented Trainers & Improve Succession Plans: Replacing an accomplished, industry knowledgeable trainer is time-consuming. Platform skills training can build your newly transitioned SME’s competence to better support company goals. Today’s in-house trainers must be able to successfully deliver the ever-changing content you want, when you want. To do so confidently, this requires strong foundational skills that trainers can rely on once they are no longer the most knowledgeable SMEs on the day to day operations. Fulfilled trainers who are invested in are less likely to become overwhelmed as they leverage their new skills to improve your employees’ performance. This can lead to greater overall job satisfaction and retention of your talented training staff. In addition, your trainers may be top candidates for your next generation of leadership, who can utilize the platform skills they have learned during their time as a trainer to manage a more engaged and efficient staff.
- Trainers Have a Direct Impact on Your Workforce. The learning and development field is constantly evolving, which makes a Train the Trainer investment so critical. New discoveries about adult learning, changing methods and techniques require trainers who are up to speed and ready to drive strong results. An effective trainer can better prepare your employees while reducing their learning curve. With the proper foundational skills, your trainer can become a facilitator of learning and employee development, not just a SME reading a slide presentation.
If you’re ready to take your company’s training function to the next level, consider investing in a class, program or a one-on-one coach to train your trainers on effective platform skills.
Mary Anne Polson is a Learning and Development professional with an extensive background of over 20 years as a Training Manager and Trainer at major multinational corporations. She follows her passion of helping others achieve success in Customer Service, Sales, & Call Centers through her work at Zelus LLC.