Training is a topic that comes up often during our conversations with members. We’ve seen a recent uptick of questions regarding training in our discussion forums, with questions about how to increase training engagement as well as training on language skills. Considering this, I thought it might be helpful to spend some time here outlining a few findings from our research about the good and bad sides of training.
Specifically, CEB Customer Contact research has found that coaching is a better driver of staff performance than training—and that when it comes to developing staff skills, it’s better to focus on coaching and to deemphasize training. There are a few key reasons to keep training short and limit the volume of information that staff learn:
1. It’s hard to retain information taught in training
If employees don’t use information soon after they learn it in training, they are likely to forget it. In fact, our research has found that 87% of training is forgotten in a matter of weeks.
2. Training doesn’t lead to skill mastery
The ideas and concepts introduced in training need to be continually reinforced before staff are able to comfortably exercise these new skills.
3. Training can create a false sense of understanding
When staff don’t remember exactly what they learned in training, they may retain a sense of knowledge and still think they know what to do for customers.
Despite all of those downfalls, training does have an important role in developing staff and is valuable when it’s used in the right time and place. In particular, training is most effective during new hire onboarding and to help staff learn new product knowledge.
Once training is finished, coaching is vital to help reps use new skills and develop good habits. Effective coaching is heavily integrated into reps’ workflows and takes advantage of everyday occurrences to find opportunities for skill development.
CEB Customer Contact has developed coaching resources to help you teach your supervisors the skills they need to provide targeted, effective coaching. Our supervisor coaching modules include training materials, exercises, and tools designed to help teach supervisors how to use an integrated coaching approach.
We’re always interested in the innovative things are members are doing; how have you been thinking about training at your organization? Let us know in the comment section below!