If you’ve been in the workforce very long, you’ve probably encountered challenges related to professional development. Funds and time are limited, and training is often the first thing organizations cut from their budgets.
So, when you do have the opportunity, how can you ensure you get the most out of your training investment?
We’ve put together a list of steps to answer that question:
- Select your Course– This sounds obvious, but based on the commitment that both you and your organization are making, this step is VERY IMPORTANT. When selecting your course, be sure to review the learning objectives to understand the intended outcomes, then consider a couple of things:
- WIIFM? (What’s in it for me)?– How is this training going to benefit me now, and even 1, 2, or 5 years down the road? If you’re simply looking for a trip to another city, or some time away from the office, take a vacation. If you’re going to commit hours of your life in a classroom, be sure you take away something of value to your own personal growth or career.
- What’s in it for my organization?– Both time and money are being invested…what’s the return on investment (ROI) for your company? Remember that the company for which you work is investing in you so that it can continue to grow and thrive (and as a side benefit, have the means to send you to more training in the future). One way to help justify that investment is to take good notes and share what you learned and how it will be valuable with your supervisor and peers. That way they can also benefit (or at least recognize the value) in training you.
- Block Your Time– This also sounds obvious, but is critical to get the most out of your training. A big part of this is planning. You don’t want to schedule a class that corresponds with a big deadline you have with work or you won’t be as likely to focus on what’s being taught. It’s also important to let everyone on your team know that you will be in training, whether it be an in-person class, virtual-led, or self-paced learning. Use out-of-office notifications so that people know you’re unavailable, and when to expect a response. Blocking your time is probably even more critical with self-paced learning. We all know how easy it is to put something off.
- “Unplug”– Minimize your interruptions. At Solarity, when we start a class, one of the first housekeeping items we mention is to ask everyone in the class to set their phones to “stun”. You’re not going to get much out of the training if you are checking your email or Facebook account every five minutes.
- Prepare for the Training– When you went through the process of selecting your training, you probably already did some research on the topic. Take that one step further. If you can get your course materials prior to beginning the training, review them. You will find that it greatly increases your learning curve than by just coming into the training cold.
- Document Take-Aways– In the project management world, we call that “Lessons Learned”. Throughout the training, you will probably be taking some notes. At the end of each day, make it a practice to review those notes and document the things that are most beneficial to you, your work, and your organization. What is something that you can take back to your job and implement immediately to have a positive impact? Put it into practice!
- Develop a Post-Training Plan –This is vital if you are taking a certification course. When we have individuals take our PMP® Exam Prep course, we work with the participants to develop an Individualized Certification Plan for doing the final preparation for the exam, which includes setting a test date…no pressure! Even if you are not taking a certification exam to follow your training, it is important to develop a plan for how you can implement the knowledge or skills gained from the training.
- What’s Next?– Always be looking ahead to your next training opportunity with an eye toward WIIFM and what’s in it for my organization? Become a life-long learner!
As we continue our blog, we would like to understand you better, our audience. We’ve created this short survey that will only take a few minutes to complete. We want to understand and connect with each of you so we put out content that resonates.
Question: What is the next training that you would like to take? How will it benefit you and your company?
Check out our Upcoming Classes at Solarity!