Skillset New Zealand Blog

Ideas to help your team develop personally and professionally.

trainer in boardroom

Ever been disappointed with the results of staff training?

Maybe it wasn’t effective training. Maybe your staff weren’t ready to change.

Maybe you weren’t involved.

The research tells us that the environment trainees return to is the main factor determining the long-term value of training. Managers and team leaders create that post-training environment. A five-minute conversation can make all the difference.

Here's something else.

You can have a major influence on the outcome of the training before it even starts. Our suggestions…

Before the workshop

  • Describe the training as an opportunity.
  • Make it clear that the workshop is just part of the learning process.
  • Tell your staff that they are primarily responsible for their learning
  • Explain the relevance of the workshop to your expectations and their role.
  • Say that you will meet again after the workshop and you will be interested to know what they took from it and their plans to put what they learnt into action.

The debrief*

Ask the team members to:

  • report on what they learned in the training.  Ask them to teach you something they thought was useful.

  • say what they plan to work on as a result of the training.

Ideally, you should meet your staff individually, but even if that’s not possible, ask each person to make a commitment to embedding the learning. Make a note of what each one plans to work on. Ask them about their progress in the critical first three weeks.

Create opportunities for your trainees to use their new skills as soon as possible.

The subtle but vital messages

In all your conversations about learning and professional development, suggest that we should always be learning, that mistakes are opportunities to learn and learning is a self-directed process.

Always praise effort, determination, resilience and strategies, never intelligence or natural talent. Praising what people can change encourages a growth mindset. It comes with far-reaching benefits for your staff, your organisation and you.


*Research involving military leaders and their teams found that debriefs alone accounted for up to a 40% improvement in performance. (Smith-Jentsch et al, 2008; Tannenbaum, Smith-Jentsch and Behson 1998)

About Ralph Brown

ralph brown blog3

Ralph is our founder. He has a background in psychology, television journalism and business.

Ralph's passions are positive psychology and writing. He leads workshops on both and speaks to conferences on the psychology of thriving at work.

In 2011  Professional Speakers Australia awarded him its top speaking accreditation, the CSP.

He has written six books, six e-books and more than a hundred articles on psychology and writing. International research journals have published his articles reviewing the research on resilience.

Ralph lives in rural Canterbury. He is a JP and marriage celebrant and enjoys travelling to French-speaking countries.

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