Saturday, December 22, 2012

Step 2...Teach! - train the trainer

At last we are ready to start talking about how to train a person to do a job. I will refer to experiences I have had both in being trained, and it training others. Some of these will be specific to the organization I worked for at the time of the training, but overall I will make this adaptable to any industry.

Part of your plan was to know who was going to do the training. Whoever that is needs to be a certified trainer for job he or she is going to train.  If the person who is doing the training hasn't been trained properly - the training won't be excellent and that is what our goal is- excellence in training!

But..beware!  Just because a person is good at doing a job doesn't mean they are going to be a good trainer.  In fact your best trainer might not be the best at the job - but they must know the job inside and out. They must understand all the steps to doing whatever job they are teaching and they must understand why they are doing it so they can explain that to the trainee.

I don't want to offend any teacher who might be reading this...and I don't want to be self - deprecating - but as my father used to say "Those who can't do, teach" I am not the best restaurant manager in the world. Numbers are not my strong suit.. so I always struggled with cost of sales and labor numbers. I understand what the numbers mean - but how you get them isn't easy for me.  I still can train people to understand how to manage those numbers.

I would never have been as successful in my career in the food service industry if I had not had the opportunity to rise to training positions - that is what I know and where my comfort zone is.

So - you have an employee who knows the job and is proficient at it.  Talk to them about training. Observe how they interact with others.  Are they a natural leader?  Are they comfortable directing others?  Do they want to be a trainer?  If you answer yes to these questions - take the next step and  start to train the trainer!

Okay so here is another plan you have to put into place - how are you going to train someone to be a trainer?


  1. Train them following your system - explain how the system works and all the particulars of using the system.  This will include all the steps of training and how to document that the training is complete
  2. Have them teach you something that you have taught them. Since you already know the information they are teaching to you - you will be able to evaluate how well they do the training.  You will know if they missed any steps or important information
  3. Observe them training someone else.  This could be a cross-training exercise - or role-playing with another team member, co-worker, or manager.
  4. Evaluate them on their training skills - explain to them what they did well and what their opportunities are. 
  5. Explain that once they have trained a new person - you will conduct the Observe/Evaluate process with the person as an additional follow up to the thoroughness of their training.  Make sure they understand that it is part of the certification process for you to confirm that they are completing the training properly.  
As the manager or leader of the team you will always be observing and evaluating the work of your employees.  Along with this - you will be evaluating if the training is consistent and complete.

Make a big deal of the fact that someone has been certified as a trainer. You may even want to give them a small pay increase since they are taking on more responsibility.  Depending on your organization these are some other forms of recognition you can give to your trainer:
  1. Special name tag with title of certified trainer
  2. Certificate of achievement
This can also be the first stepping - stone to management for the employee!  This is another way that you can retain employees. If employees know that they have the opportunity to grow, develop and be promoted within your company - it will be an incentive for them to stay with you longer.  

Alright - you have some guidelines for training a trainer - next we will talk more about how your system should work and how to train.

Training is not a one time event - it is an ongoing journey...Learn it...Live it...Pass it on!!

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