I had to smile to myself when I read the front cover of Franchisor News (Spring/Summer Edition 2011):
Are you wasting money on irrelevant training?
The headline demands to know.
This’ll be good, thinks I to myself, settling down to read the article and be highly critical of it. After all, what do these people know about training; they’re franchisors, not training professionals?
But I was disappointed.
The article is pretty good, makes some excellent points and even gives a tip or two (it’s 10 Top Tips, actually) about putting a training programme together. That’s not to say that I agreed with everything that was said, because I didn’t. And it was mostly the bits about training design I had issues with.
So here are the 10 Top Tips for training as per Franchisor News with comments from R Lambert Esquire, appended:
- Keep it bite-sized. Nope, don’t agree with this one. This is all down to training design and making sure that learning is consolidated at regular intervals. Yes, sessions need to be ‘chunked’ correctly, but, if a course is designed in the right way by someone who understands the psychology of learning, it’s amazing what capacity the brain has to take in, file and retrieve info.
- Use experienced and successful franchisees for direct training. Nope, don’t agree here, either… except sometimes, under carefully controlled conditions. You see, the franchisor knows best and the training course should teach nirvana. If you get franchisees training, they say things like: ‘I know what head office want you to think, but this is how it is in the real world…’ What they actually mean to say is ‘…in my world…’
- Assess what areas the franchisee needs more training in, i.e. sales, marketing and accounting. Absolutely. After initial training that is. All initial training should cover the same material no matter who the franchisee is. Initial training should start from the beginning, assume nothing and cover everything needed. A franchisee cannot then say ‘you didn’t cover that for me’
- Taylor your training to suit all ages and abilities. Yep. Agree. There is this thing called Learning Styles (of which there are four) and your training should cater for each. Not every session can cater for all styles, but a mixture will keep it real. Did I say ‘real’? I meant ‘interesting’.
- Ask for feedback. Yep, always; even if you don’t agree with it.
- Assess if it’s working. Yes to this one, too. The measure of success shouldn’t be whether your franchisees ‘enjoyed’ the training, but are they doing what they should be in the field?
- Alignment. Is your training still relevant to market and business needs? Oh, yes. Regular re-designs to take into account changes to the franchise system and training techniques are needed.
- Keep franchisees motivated with the end goal. Yes, I guess. We always find franchisees pretty motivated given that for most of the training we do, they’ve paid the thick end of £30,000 for the privilege of being there.
- Design an ongoing training plan structure. Yep. Good one. Training (as long as it’s relevant) should always improve performance.
- Use a mix of classroom, on the job, group and one to one training sessions. Same as item 4 really.
All in all a good list… well done Franchisor News!