Your training program in your company may be incomplete. Training is an essential part of building your culture, but many organizations don’t understand how comprehensive it should be. Culture building should be integrated into your training program in order to get the most out of your training dollars. Otherwise you are throwing money away.
Training is not expensive: lack of training is expensive. Take The Container Store, for example. They provide their employees with more than 10x the amount of training their industry average provides. And they pay their employees significantly more than the industry average. And yet their employees have only 1/10 of the industry turnover rate.
The training The Container Store provides their team serves to create the culture that keeps employees working for the company. Similarly, your company needs to incorporate your culture building process into your training program.
Here are the four levels necessary for your training program to mutually reinforce your culture building process.
The Communicating level entails more than someone standing up in front of a group of people and telling them what they need to do. This communication should also involve clear, written guidelines prescribing the precise duties they are to perform. And they should be informed of the way their duties should be performed—and the way they should NOT be performed.
This part of your training program is the very basic level and looks like what most people would call “training”: that involves teaching your employees what you expect of them. This is the part of the training program that you can delegate to your HR team.
In creating your training program, it’s important to create clarity about not only what they should do, but also how they should do what they do. They need to know what a good job looks like and how to do it.
Even though your HR team may do most of the training in the Communicating level your leadership team—including you—must do most of the training in the Demonstrating level.
The next level of your training program involves you as the leader: you must be the cheerleader for everything that you train your employees to do. They need to see you put into practice the values that you want them to emulate in how they do what they do.
Everyone in your organization is already paying attention to everything that you do as a leader, so you can capitalize on their attention. Have them watch you act out what you expect in terms of your operationalizing your brand. Your employees should see you put the company brand values on display in all of your actions.
While your leadership team and your HR team are the ones responsible for the first two levels of your company training program, the Celebrating level involves your company processes and systems.
It’s important to incorporate your standards for how you do what you do into your routine practices and gatherings. In your annual, quarterly, month, weekly, and even daily meetings, it’s important to remind your team how you do what you do.
Incorporate your company way of doing things into your regular employee reviews, contests, and even celebrations. Let everything you do as a company intentionally and consistently involve your company brand values.
While your HR team, your leadership team, and your company processes are responsible for the first three levels of your training program, your employees are responsible for teaching the fourth level.
In the Curating level, your HR team will merely curate the examples of what your employees are already doing. The encapsulation of what they do in the form of story make the event memorable and portable. You can call upon this form of training to reinforce what the other three levels of your training program have already been doing.
By involving your employees in spotting actions which reinforce the training they have already been receiving, you can involve them in perpetuating the training program through their active participation.
By instituting all four levels of the training program, you immerse your employees in your company’s way of doing business. As a result, you will clearly, intentionally, and consistently express to your employees the ideals espoused in your marketing materials. In that way, your internal culture and your external marketing messages will be in alignment. As a result, your customers will “feel” your brand. And you will get the most out of your training dollars.
Robert McFarland is the author of the bestsellers, Dear Boss: What Your Employees Wish You Knew and Dear Employee: What Your Boss Wishes You Knew. Robert is also President of Transformational Impact LLC, a leadership development consultancy helping companies make ideals actionable.