For many companies, it’s a rare occasion that everyone on staff is in the same place at the same time. This is especially true for specific departments, such as maintenance or sales, whose personnel is often on the road or even stationed remotely in different areas of the country.
When this is the case, training can become somewhat of a challenge.
To address this, BEMA developed a series of training workshops in its BEMA-U program, some of which include on-site workshops. In June, Formost Fuji became the first of BEMA’s member companies to take advantage of this new model. Emily Bowers, director of education and professional development, facilitated an interactive Learn to Train course for Formost Fuji’s team of service technicians during its annual service meeting in Bothell, WA.
Why ‘Learn to Train’?
Companies believe they hire only the best employees, but what about their training skills? When sales staff or engineers are teaching customers how to use their products, they must understand how adults learn and adapt their delivery and communication style based on the audience. Do they have the skills to make training interactive and engaging? Do they have an actual step-by-step training process to put into action? In order to ensure success, trainers must provide value to the customer. All these factors must be considered when teaching employees to train others — and these are the main objectives of the Learn to Train course.
While there are always financial considerations related to employee learning and development, there are also myriad benefits that provide ROI, such as higher customer satisfaction, more innovation and lower costs, just to name a few.
By taking advantage of BEMA’s proven techniques for training customers on Formost Fuji equipment, the team gained a meaningful learning experience while increasing the potential benefits for its customers.
At one time or another, everyone plays the role of customer. Companies that support a skilled, knowledgeable and adaptable workforce are the ones that keep customers coming back for more.
The training experience
On Day One of the workshop, BEMA uses Insights Discovery, a branded program that provides each participant a unique personality profile highlighting strengths, weaknesses, communication style and approach to problem solving. Personality traits and preferences are represented by colors in an easy-to-remember and easy-to-apply model. Everyone has a different combination of traits or colors, and when individuals understand this combination — and why they think and act the way they do — they can start to work more harmoniously and effectively with others. These lessons help people adapt and connect with their customers and trainees in an immediate and positive way.
Day Two of the course begins with some of the standard teaching and learning topics: communication, body language, problem solving and basic adult learning principles. Formost Fuji staff spent time diving into discussion about how to apply these techniques to the service technician’s unique environment. Oftentimes they are right on the manufacturing floor and navigating shift schedules, production demands and noise. They need to train effectively despite these obstacles; that takes some creativity.
During the Formost Fuji workshop, these sales technicians made a list of barriers to successful training and created a list of logical and applicable solutions.
The training experience comes full circle at the end of Day Two when participants select a training topic and put all they have learned into practice. As the saying goes, “The proof is in the pudding,” and for the Formost Fuji participants, the proof was in the practice. They worked in teams and immersed themselves in creating job aids, detailing each step in the training process and using questioning techniques to check for understanding, all the while keeping in mind one another’s learning styles and preferences.
At the end of BEMA’s Learn to Train, mock sessions give technicians a chance to test-drive their new skills in a familiar and comfortable environment. With the planning complete, and an audience of teammates, Formost Fuji participants applied new strategies to maximize their training delivery and improve results.
For more information on Learn to Train and other BEMA-U opportunities, visit www.bema.org/bema-u.