It is not possible to effectively train staff on-the-job except on a one-to-one basis, which makes implementation across the company time consuming and less likely to show an immediately visible change in productivity. This means that the results are more difficult to measure as quickly. In addition, unless you have a small company, it is not practical to try and train everyone at once. You need enough staff to be able to follow up the training and to ensure the implementation of the system.

The most effective method of training is in a classroom environment with about ten people learning at any one time. It is possible to do more staff at once if you have the support staff to assist in the follow-up.

As discussed, the training should begin with goal setting, followed by the training and finally the planning implementation.

Make sure they each allocate the first 30 minutes of every day for the next week for planning. This must be placed in the diary for each person. It may well be a good idea to plan times for checking email and emptying their in-tray as well.

Supporting Implementation

Without correct support, individual staff members will tend to ‘get busy’ and revert to their habitual way of working, reacting to the unexpected, instead of implementing a considered response to changing circumstances.

In the first week, the support will include one-to-one feedback and motivation. This is done by explaining that whilst the system can be implemented by everyone as is, the prioritisation and scheduling can vary from person to person, which is where the support comes in.

In the first support session, go over the goals that were set and ensure that they understand that improvements in their productivity will help them realise their goals. This is part of the process of motivating them to implement the system. Most people want to do well, but are resistant to change. The old saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, is not true, but it is challenging in some cases. If the motivation is strong enough, then individuals will work hard to overcome the habitual way of working. However if they cannot see a tangible benefit to them, then implementation will be very hard.

Ensure that the six top things to do are genuinely the most important things and not just the most urgent or the ones they like to do the most. The best way to go through this process is to use a questioning technique to bring out the key benefits of each task. Questions such as: “What is the key result that this task will provide?” or “How will this task help you towards achieving the goals we have looked at?”

Keep the focus on goal achievement and ensuring that the tasks at hand are the ones that will benefit the business the most and will create the optimum results for the time invested. Also, it is worth asking if there are alternative ways of achieving the same outcome, ways that would take less time or that would require fewer resources. Asking these questions helps to open the mind to new ways of working and additional opportunities to progress which the company may not have considered before. It is very easy to continue doing things in the same way simply because it has always been done that way.

I recently spent some time with a client who relayed a simple example of this. They are a property management company and they look after a lot of properties across the country. The way the property managers worked was that they would spend much of their time travelling around visiting properties, keeping the tenants happy and ensuring everything was okay. Over time things would change, new tenants would come in, billing addresses would change and the rent amount would change. These were regular occurrences.

The manager would then type up a change request and send it to the office where one of the office staff would make the change on the database. There was little to it really, except that the process required 2 people, the property manager had to decide what was to be put in the database and the administration staff would make the change. It had always been done like that ever since they had paper based records. The only difference now was that the records are on computer and the property manager already had read access to the database from anywhere.

Simply by giving the manager authority to edit the data field as well as read them, the process was accelerated massively. Instead of typing the information into an email for someone else to type it into the database, the information was entered once with no wasted time, fewer errors and the administration staff had more time for their other duties. A simple change that increased business efficiency massively.

During the first week, it will be highly advisable to ensure that all the recently trained staff are supported every day, either by their line manager or external support staff, or both.

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