Training Blog at Microsoft - Keypoints for Service Training

My TWI alert posted the following weblog link at Microsoft's website.

Tips for on the job training

I like some of the key points made in this post, particularly from the viewpoint of a person in the service industry.

1) "Simply telling customers you care isn't enough" is a major lesson learned in Job Instruction training when discussing different training styles, "telling alone is not enough" and is reminiscent of the JI motto:

"If the person hasn't learned the instructor hasn't taught."

2) "When starting a training program, the in-house trainer, the HR personnel, the supervisor or whoever is tasked to conduct the training, should first ask a simple, basic question, "How do I build an open relationship with the new employee?"

This is interesting to me. First, I like that the author calls out many different roles in a business that are responsible for training. Training should never be left to only training professionals, or the old shop hand. Any time we direct the work of other people, we should consider that moment a training opportunity and act accordingly.

However, I find the last question is misplaced. This question may be similar to asking, "How do I create a culture?" This line of thinking suggests that open relationships and progressive cultures are the objective when training others. However, we all know that simply engaging in the act of training doesn't mean good things are happening. What happens if the training is bad? The likely result is that open relationships are not created.

I'm not sure that asking the relationship question is the "right" question we are seeking to answer when pursuing training perfection. Rather, we learn in JI that the right behaviors we are looking for in training are more likely found when we think about training as means to solving a problem. In this way, a result of good training may be improved communication which in turn will ultimately meet customer needs. This in fact, is the final problem: "how to meet customer needs?" When we think of it this way, the question asked by the blog author is stuck somewhere in the middle of a causal chain. Good communication amongst employees is just one of the many benefits resulting from training. In this way, we can think of the ultimate aim of training is to solve nearly any problem for the sake of the customer. This is what we talk about when trying to balance customer, company and colleague needs.

3)"Learning is the Objective" This of course, the author nails, yet many still fail to see learning as one of the main objectives in any business model.

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