A training budget is wonderful. It is precious, and needs to be used wisely. It needs to deliver impact, results, and a return on investment. But how exactly do you make sure training is right for your team right now?
We often hear from managers and leaders who have suddenly found themselves with a training and development budget, and get a bit overwhelmed with the possibilities. Or we get approached by HR or People teams who need to deliver ‘learning and development’ as part of their busy roles, and need to figure out the best (and easiest) way to do that.
The options are wide and varied. There are hard skills or technical skills courses. Workshops for brushing up on your communication skills. Management courses, leadership programmes, residential retreats. There is reading, watching, observing and everything else in between.
So how do you decide what is best to do? Here are three simple steps to help you identify the right approach for you and your team:
Before rushing off to google ‘charity training programmes’, identify specific needs for your team. Ask: What do they need to be good at now? In the future? Are there specific areas of knowledge they need? Or skills to apply that knowledge? Review other organisations and teams that you admire – what skills, knowledge and abilities do they have?
Create a list of these needs. Frame them as ‘To be able to…’ ‘To understand how to…’. or ‘To develop’. This will help you be specific when you start looking for ways to meet that need. Prioritise them – which will most help your team to be successful in the future?
For example, your team may be very knowledgeable and use this to provide advice to the communities you work with. In order to continue being a success, in the future they may need:
Ask yourself: in relation to the needs you have identified, what are the team less confident with? Where do they struggle or tell you they are not comfortable? Where are the gaps?
For example, they may be really great at handling calls and emailing supporters. They may be less confident with presenting to external partners. Or maybe the demand for their work has changed or increased, so they need to feel more confident in managing conflicting priorities and higher workloads. Maybe they even now need to learn how to feel comfortable with influencing or saying no to stakeholders.
Once you know the needs and the gaps in your team, you can decide on the right learning approach. Consider the best format for your team: can you train them or share knowledge yourself? Do you have the capacity and the insights to do that? Or do you need external expertise? If this is a skill, would a course or workshop be useful? Before selecting your approach (and spending your money!) think about the outcomes you are looking for. What would your team be doing differently after this intervention? How will you know it has worked? What else can you do to ensure success?
For example, your training need is to work with new partners. The gap is in influencing skills – the team want to feel more confident in this area. A team development day, working on skills, tools, and practical application will give them a safe space to try new approaches. An external facilitator will help your team with good, and best practice. You can support this further by having follow up conversations: asking the team what they have tried, what has worked, and what else they can do to use their new knowledge?
We are always happy to help you figure out the best training and development approach for your team. These are just some of the questions we will guide you through. We won’t try and sell you a course if that isn’t the best approach for you. We will help you to think about the best options available for your team, and can even make recommendations about other suppliers or sources. We can provide our courses as standard, or tailor them to your specific needs. See here for some more ideas on how to tailor a programme.
If you want to talk about your team and their learning needs, book a call with one of our consultants by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us online.