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The Art and Craft of Training for Training

One company found that it could spend far less than if an outside training company had done all the training.

September 18, 2003

Providing managers or supervisors with training so they can deliver criticalmaterials internally involves more than subject-matter instruction.Non-trainers often don’t have public speaking experience, nor are theyaccustomed to organizing training sessions.

The challenge can be particularly true for small companies. CorcoranManagement Company, a property-management firm with 250 employees and offices inseven states, for example, wanted to develop a training program to provide moreconsistency across the company in implementing procedures.

While Corcoran didn’t want, and couldn’t afford, to use externaltrainers, the Braintree, Massachusetts, company also knew that the people itselected to conduct training from among its employees didn’t have the skillsto deliver the courseeffectively. “We knew we had to teach the basic skills of delivery andpresentation,” says firm president Peter Blampieg. “We also discovered thatwe had to help people handle all sorts of logistical and scheduling issues,things that we wouldn’t be capable of sorting our way through on our own.”

Corcoran turned to Christine Gatti, an independent training consultant inleadership and management development. In addition to helping the firm create aseries of leadership workshops, she initiated a train-the-trainer program forinternal managers. She walked them through the process of delivering a businesspresentation, had each person practice in front of a video camera, and thenestablished a training-certification program.

Corcoran began with a group of 18 trainers and is now ready to launch asecond group. The company will continue to use Gatti to prepare new trainersrather than have internal employees pass along their newly acquired skills. “Wehaven’t developed that capability and still need an outside professional to doit,” Blampieg says.

Gatti is collecting data to verify that the program is working and that thetrainers’ behavior and skills are actually improving. Following up, especiallywhen non-professional trainers are involved, is critical. The Federal AviationAdministration, for example, uses post-course surveys in all of its trainingsessions to ensure that its facilitators continue to maintain a high level ofeffectiveness.

At Corcoran Management, the program has gained the support of senior staffmembers, and the firm has spent far less than it would have if an outsidetraining company had done it all, Blampieg says. “We are at the point nowwhere we are trying to measure the results and making sure we are seeing theperformance in the field that we are teaching in the classroom.”

 Workforce, September 2002, p. 46 -- Subscribe Now!