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Grow Your Staff Internally: Using In-House Experts to Train Your Colleagues

June 30, 2019


One of the most common teaching styles in use today is what is commonly called “Train the Trainer” (ToT).  For any ISO-certified organisation (or any that are planning to get certified), an important thing to consider is how the organisation determines the knowledge necessary for the operation of its processes and the achievement of conformity to requirements.  Related to this is how this knowledge is communicated to everyone in the organisation that should be aware of it.


Internal training has the following immediate benefits:

1.  It ensures that the verified and documented knowledge will be retained by those who would have use for it.

2.  It develops leadership skills and, consequently, leaders from the ranks.

3. It establishes a cost-efficient Training Program; not having to rely on experts from outside the organisation.

4.  It helps people retain their skills by giving them regular opportunity to teach them to others.


To make any “Train the Trainer” program work, there are several things to consider:


1. The trainer to be trained should be the right candidate for the job.


In order for this training method to work, the right person should be selected for the job.It doesn’t always mean the one with the best public speaking skill, or the one with the best performance record, nor should it automatically mean the most experienced in the department.These need to be considered but probably the most important consideration is if the person is willing to exert the extra effort in training his colleagues. Look for someone with a desire to mentor people.


2.  Allow room for mistakes as the trainers and trainees go through the process.


Any training is a learning process. As such, there will be a learning curve involved and consequently there will be reasonable errors made along the way, especially at the beginning.


Allowing the trainers and trainees to make some unintentional mistakes will encourage them to try new things or new approaches to old things; it helps that there could be an offline situation that can be used for testing or trial so that the program will not directly impact on the organisation’s quality objectives. Allow enough time for preparation and practice. It is unrealistic to expect things to go smoothly the first time, even if a lot of time was spent in choosing the trainers, researching the subject-matter, and in teaching the trainees.


3. Monitor the progress of both trainers and trainees.


New trainers will be encouraged if there is prompt and appropriate feedback with regards to their efforts.Considering that most of the time trainers are not compensated additionally for their efforts, non-monetary means of recognition are important.Even constructive criticism would be good as this should encourage them to do better the next time.Trainees also should be appraised to verify that the trainer’s approach and/or training materials are delivering their intended results.


As your organisation establishes a Train the Trainer program, anticipate criticism to come from some members of the team who are not fully receptive of the idea.  Resisting change is part of human nature and can only be managed but not eliminated.  Remind the new trainers that they should try not to take the criticisms personally and that they should use them to improve their training materials or even their choice of words and anecdotes.  If any of their jokes during the training are not resonating with the group, maybe they should come up with a different one.  If the examples they cite result in more confused looks from the trainees than lightbulb moments, they should think of examples that are more relatable.


In the end, the goal of any Train the Trainer program is to maximise process efficiency and minimise errors or waste; not necessarily to come up with a revolutionary teaching method.  Keep in mind that trainees connect with trainers better when the trainers are being genuine and authentic, so remind each trainer to be themselves first before they try to be the trainer they envision themselves to be.


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