Studying at home or away? Pros and cons of training sales staff at work and on the job
12.08.2019 4920

Studying at home or away? Pros and cons of training sales staff at work and on the job

Professional knowledge and personal skills of sales personnel have a direct impact on profit growth and, ultimately, on the success of the enterprise. But how to train employees: in the workplace, without interruption from production, or poisoned for training? And if the second option is chosen, then how to choose a trainer from that large number of experts who work in the market? Any expert on how to choose a training method and how to find a good trainer for your employees, says Anya Pabst, an SR expert and business trainer.

Anya Pabst Anya Pabst - Head of the Russian branch of BEITRAINING. Master of Sociology and Slavic Studies. Education "HR Manager", is a specialist in the field of crisis communication. He has experience working with people in study groups of various profiles both in Germany and abroad. Over the years, Anya Pabst has trained over 150 trainers. For more than 7 years her professional activity has been associated with work in the CIS countries - Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. BEITRAINING is an international franchise company and a certified strategic partner of the German and Austrian Franchising Union on the topic of “Professional Development”. He specializes in training and professional development in the field of management, trade, customer service and personal growth.

The choice of a training option depends on many factors: the goals and capabilities of the employer, the particulars of doing business at the company, the cost of training and those skills that need to be improved. The employer can evaluate the pros and cons of both options not only independently, but also by consulting with subordinates - if the structure of relations at the enterprise is transparent, and employees readily share their problems and expectations with managers.

On-the-job training takes place right at the workplace, in which case the employee combines the roles of apprentice and employee. The main plus is that the training is focused on the specific skills needed in the work process, which the employee immediately tries to put into practice. Accordingly, on-the-job training takes place outside the company, using a simplified model: as a rule, an employee does not interact with real customers, but only represents the client in a playful manner, while trying to change the usual pattern of behavior.

With or without margin: pros and cons

Comparing the pros and cons of both training models, it is worth saying that training in the workplace is cheaper than training on the side. We can hope for its effectiveness, based on the fact that the acquired skills will be used in the same working environment using tools familiar to the employee. But this also has a minus: if everything is familiar, the temptation is great to slide back into the old rut and not change anything, but simply follow the already established pattern.

Another drawback may lie in the choice of “teacher”: for example, when a young employee is appointed as a mentor already experienced. Even if the latter is a very effective employee, this does not mean that he automatically becomes a good coach and can effectively transfer his knowledge to someone else. Such training usually consists in transferring the knurled pattern adopted at a given enterprise, and not in introducing new skills and trends.

The usual working atmosphere of a trading floor or any other room where work with clients takes place does not contribute to creating an educational mood: it is unlikely that in such an environment you can calmly and thoughtfully acquire and consolidate new knowledge. And although it is possible to comprehend certain skills only directly in the process of work, one can talk about high-quality theoretical preparation, there is no need to explain methods here.

There will always be something that will distract workers: an urgent call, a failed order, a meeting. All this will negatively affect the learning process. And if among the students there are ordinary employees and managers, superiors and subordinates, this will also affect the mood within the group and distract from study. But training in a mixed group, where the rest of the “students” are employees of other companies, will completely change the rules of the game.

Training taken outside the enterprise has certain advantages. So, employees of various companies can openly talk about problems that often turn out to be the same in different teams and can avoid a failure to discuss the internal kitchen of the enterprise. In addition, the training should be voluntary, then its participants are open from the very beginning to receive new information, especially if they are aware of the problem and are ready to solve it.

Training on the side: get the benefit and not go “on the lead”

The main difficulty in on-the-job training is to find a good trainer and training - one that really teaches something useful, and after which the acquired skills will be put into practice, and not theoretical, that is, quickly forgotten. In this case, the danger is great to simply throw money away. When choosing a coach, you should pay attention to the signed contract: the obligations of the organizers of the seminar should be clearly stated, as well as the topics, the composition of the issues to be considered in the training process.

The main competencies and skills of a successful trainer include the ability to manage the training process, as well as the possession of various moderation methods and interactivity techniques. The knowledge of a social psychologist - such as understanding group processes and competent observation of participants - helps to keep abreast and feel how the group is progressing in the study of the material. You can not do without a self-critical analysis of the effectiveness of individual blocks of the training, which is carried out not only on the basis of personal impressions, but also, preferably, through a survey of participants. The ability to see yourself and your successes / failures from the outside is a sign of a true professional.

A signal for company management can also be whether the training price is calculated for each employee or for the hours spent by employees at the seminar. In the first case, it is more likely that the trainer focuses on the person, the employee of the company. This corresponds to the main goal of soft skills training: a marked increase in the success of the enterprise by improving the personal achievements of employees.

So, the training should be concrete, applied, so that it becomes clear that it can bring real benefits. Then the participants are ready to ask more questions and seek solutions themselves. Therefore, training delivered outside the framework of the enterprise will only make sense if it is aimed at solving identified problems. New-fashioned master classes, including those held by public persons, are often considered by participants as mini-vacations and are of no practical use. People, their problems and experience, especially in retail, are very different. Therefore, training in a small group will be useful, where specific ideas and suggestions are discussed that can be immediately put into practice - first in the training, and then in the work process.

In addition to choosing a coach, much attention should be paid to the conditions of post-training support, which involves the application of acquired skills. It is convenient to divide some topics into blocks, for example, self-organization training for managers: a seminar for one to two days, then one or two days after three or four weeks to deepen knowledge and discuss in a group typical cases and difficulties of application. Such training combines the advantages of an “on-site” seminar and on-the-job training.

This article was published in the 158 issue of the print version of the magazine.

Professional knowledge and personal skills of sales personnel have a direct impact on profit growth and, ultimately, on the success of the enterprise. But how to train employees: in the workplace, without ...
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