‘Why am I here?’ vs. ‘When can I start doing this?’
When implementing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Solution in Higher Education communication, knowledge transfer and buy-in are key. To ensure this it is imperative that an effective training plan is in place, below we discuss some consideration for the project team to ensure project success.
Why training buy-in is essential
For any trainer in any discipline, one of the most difficult things to resolve when managing a training group, is an absence of buy-in from delegates. This can arise from a lack of communication when sending delegates on training courses;
- End users not being consulted about their requirements
- Training Needs Analysis (TNA) not being conducted at all, being carried out but not including all relevant representatives or not asking the right questions
- End users not being given a choice (have you ever been told you had to go on a training course?)
When delegates know why they are on a training course and what they are going to get from it by the end, the sessions are always much more productive. The energy and positive attitude which results from delegates being able to take the opportunity to address a problem, or an idea they are having is invaluable. The alternative is a group of delegates who do not engage in the training despite the trainer’s best efforts and the dreaded ‘Why am I here?’ or statements to that effect.
How to get delegate buy-in before the training
Both the business and the trainer can help with this.
- As a trainer, provide a clear agenda with aims and objectives; delegates will have a good idea of what is going to be discussed and what they should be able to do by the end.
- Be open to the agenda being tweaked; remove topics that are not needed to make way for ones that are or more time to focus on business crucial elements.
- As a business, engage with the team management and end users; what do they actually want or need to fulfil their team and departmental objectives, are there any known issues that need addressing
- The trainer and business should conduct a TNA and include as many representatives as possible; from experience there will always be some departments that are represented better than others when addressing learning and development needs. By requesting that all the relevant departments have representation during the TNA, will support the business and help promote buy-in
- As a trainer, ask for examples up front; these can be discussed in the training and early notice will give the trainer time to prepare a potential solution or discussion. The delegates will have a measurable target that they can also prepare to discuss and walk away with solved. This approach worked well for Marketing and communication training at Loughborough University as each department had shared and specific Open Day requirements from each other.
How to get delegate buy-in during the training
It’s all very well getting delegates buy-in before the training starts, now the trainer needs to enforce this and build on the willingness to learn.
- Make sure you engage with all the delegates as they arrive; no-one likes to feel ignored
- Ensure everyone gets a chance to ‘take the floor’ when discussing ideas or finding solutions
- When feasible, work in the examples that have been provided or ask for ones on the day. Encourage discussion and coach the delegates to a solution utilising the skills and knowledge delivered in the training session. If the delegates arrive at the solution themselves, it will help embed the learning and provide them with the confidence to sell it once they get back to their teams.
- Make the time to have a chat with each delegate in turn to assess how the training is going and whether it is addressing their concerns or requirements; this will give the quieter members and reflectors in the group a chance to speak if they are not comfortable speaking out in front of the rest of the group
Measuring the success
- When delegates have bought in to training provided, they will leave the session with ideas of how to implement it in their department and hopefully want to get started straight way.
- Both the trainer and the business should encourage the delegates to share their new knowledge to help meet departmental and team objectives.
- Having teams who are proactively work towards solutions, share knowledge and engage with management when training requirements are identified can only be a positive thing for a business.
- As a trainer, receiving feedback with examples of how delegates have improved a process or implemented a new idea is the best news you can receive…now on to the next session!