5/17/12

I Think I Want to Be a Trainer - I Need to Know More

First of all you need to know what a trainer does on a daily basis, then what skills you need to have and to develop and last but not least what training of your own you need to become a trainer. All these details should help you decide if the job of a Trainer or HR Specialist in training and employee development is really for you.

The main activities that a trainer does on a daily basis are mentioned below. However, the list is open and depends on the specifics of each company. In some companies, the trainer does only the last activity in the list and that's it. In others, he/she is involved in administrative tasks and budget approving as well.

A trainer:

- discusses with the managers of each department and identifies training needs. By training needs I mean the list of skills that the employees in the specific team need to develop. These can be technical skills or soft skills (communication, leadership, time management, decision making, etc.);

- discusses with the employees themselves face to face or applies questionnaires to identify and confirm training needs again;

- creates the training plan for a given period of time, including all the necessary trainings, number of employees that need to be trained, if the trainer is internal or external, potential costs, timelines;

- asks for approval for potential costs - sometimes this is the job of his manager, but not all the time, so be prepared for explaining as well. All costs need to be reflected in company productivity so be prepared with strong arguments before sending the costs for approval. Asking for managers' support can also be useful;

- creates the training agenda for trainings that he/she will be organizing himself/herself;

- gathers materials for his/her trainings;

- contacts external companies for trainings that need to be organized by an external provider (mostly technical, but not only), prepares the room, communicates training details to participants, gets feedback from participants at the end;

- develops and presents his/her own trainings in front of the participants, communicates details, gets feedback, improves training for next session based on feedback; selects the best training techniques in order to achieve the training goal;

What skills do you need?

First of all, communication and presentation skills. You must have the ability to explain what you know to the trainees so that at the end of the training they have acquired at least half of the presentation content. Depending on the training techniques used, the percentage can be even more. You must speak fluently and openly, keep eye contact with each of the participants, must not be afraid to speak in public. Allow them to give you their opinion as well. Don't make it look like you're a teacher in school.

Then, analytic skills which will allow you to select from the materials you have the best for your training and from the techniques you know the best for your purpose.

Being patient is also important. Not everybody understands information fast and a trainer must be able to make sure that at the end of the training all the participants have understood the message. Repeating over and over again can also be necessary from time to time, so be prepared.

Sensing the dynamics of the group is a must. You must know when to tell the information again, when to stop, when to listen, when to change the training technique because the trainees are bored and no longer follow you. Don't get annoyed by aggressive trainees, have patience with slower ones, encourage everybody to contribute with ideas.

Time management is also crucial. You need how to monitor the discussions in order not to transform a 2-hour training in an entire day of small talk. Encourage the participants to participate but also keep an eye on the clock to make sure you keep the agenda. Some of the participants' time may be limited and wasted. Keep the agenda as promised and if there are trainees who want to talk more to you, ask them to do it at the end of the training.

If you do also administrative tasks, you need to be organized and have some negotiation skills if you want the training budget approved. Training results are not concrete results you can feel, so management will need some strong arguments from your side.


Coming back to our third part of the topic, what trainings do you need to become a trainer?
The main training you need to start with is called "Train the Trainers (TTT)".  There are a lot of companies offering that, so be careful which one you choose. Ask around and go by recommendation if you really want to achieve your goal. Then continue with communication, time management and some psychology courses (to understand groups). Then, try to get as much experience as you get and good luck.


And as bonus: Training FAQs:

1. What do I do if they ask me something I don't know?
This can happen to absolutely every trainer no matter how experienced. Don't panic, don't start searching for ideas and details right away because it will look unprofessional. Just admit you don't know, get the contact details of the participant and promise you will come back to him/her with details. Mention also the timeline you intend to come back with details. Keep your promise. That's it. Move over.

2. If I am the trainer of groups, how many participants can I allow during one session?
Depends on the training type. If it's a training on the PC, as many as the number of PCs in the room. If not, try to limit the number to 8-10. If you have more than that, you will not be able to give enough of your attention to each of them.

3. Can I train just one person?
Yes, but it's much more fun and rewarding with more because experience is shared. You might even learn something from them. Also, they get to know each other and share experience and ideas.

4. How do I start the training?
With an ice breaker. The best one to give you time to breathe is asking them to introduce themselves and say a few words about them. This is also good for the group dynamics because they get to know each other and they will work better throughout the training session/s.

5. How long should a training session be?
If you mean during a day - 1 hour maximum with adults and then break. If you mean during a longer training - depending on how much information you have to communicate. Can be from 2 hours to 3 months daily.

Good luck in achieving your goals.
Regards,
Geo

5/14/12

What Should a Labor Contract Include?


A Labor contract is the type of contract that an employee should sign with his/her employer to make sure that the rights and obligations of both parties are respected.

The main items included in the labor contract should be:

  1. The identity of the parts (name, address, phone, legal representative of the company and name, address, personal identification details, work permit details if necessary of the employee);
  2.  The object of the contract: 1- 2 phrases describing the main activities performed by the employee for the company;
  3. Validity of contract – permanent or temporary; if temporary, the contract must include ending date;
  4. Place of work and conditions;
  5. The name of the position that the employee is going to have; job description can be included in contract or separate;
  6. Number of hours the employee will perform every day or if less than one hour/day, the number of hours/week  - part time or full time contract;
  7. Vacation and free time details;
  8. Salary and additional benefits if any;
  9. Details concerning overtime payment;
  10. Rights and obligations of the parties (employee and company);
  11. Trial period for the employee;
  12. Notice period in case of resignation;
  13. Dismissal in case of deployment period (number of days the employee will still be working for the company from the moment the position he/she is on is no longer necessary in the company);
  14. Clauses: confidentiality, mobility, not being allowed to work for the competition, obligations from the employee side in case he/she is sent to specific trainings/certifications, others if necessary;
  15. Termination clauses;
  16. Signatures of the parties.

The elements above are just a draft for you to get an idea. They may vary from country to country and may include more or less details.  What’s important for you is to make sure you sign such a document and ask for your copy signed by both parties. This will be your backup in case the company doesn’t respect their obligations in terms of salary, vacation, breaks, benefits or others.

Have a great evening, morning or day no matter where you are,
Geo

5/6/12

I Want to Become a Manager – What Should I Do?


First of all you must think really well if you have what is takes. What I mean is:
  1. Are you willing to be the role model and image of your team?
  2. Are you willing to take responsibility for everything that happens in your team, including the negative results?
  3. Are you strong enough to solve the conflicts between the members of your team?
  4. Do you think you are able to build authority and convince the members of your team to listen to you and to follow your lead?
  5. Are you willing to talk to the members of your team periodically, listen to them, know them well enough in order to help them and be their mentor?
  6. Are you willing to learn and understand the functionality and roles of the members in your team in order to assign tasks in a fair and efficient manner and maybe help from time to time?
  7. Are you interested in knowing and doing more than your current role?
  8. Are you interested in understanding the entire business conducted by the company you are in (or are interested of working for) in order to understand where you and your team fit?
  9. Do you like working with people?
  10. Do you have any idea what “motivating your team” means?
  11. Do you feel confident to speak in public?
  12. Do you like reporting or are patient enough to deal with this task even if you’re not very fond of it?
  13. Do you feel confident enough to make your own decisions knowing that they might affect not only you, but the people in your team as well or even the entire company?
  14. Do you feel strong enough to fire someone?
  15. Do you feel strong enough to tell someone to their face that they are not performing well and need to improve?
  16. Do you know what “delegating tasks” means? Do you trust your team members enough to actually do it?
  17. Do you know what you current manager does on a daily basis?
  18. Are you organized? Do you know how to prioritize your tasks?

If you replied in a positive manner to all or most of the questions above, then you want to become a manager. Now, from wanting something and making it happen, it is a long way. What you need to do next is shadow your manager and get involved in trainings.

How to shadow your manager: talk to him/her in an open manner and tell him/her that you want to learn more than what you know at the moment. Ask for additional tasks that are done by a manager mainly and see how it feels like: do reports, talk to the members of your team, plan meetings, be the moderator in meetings, propose improvements, come up with new ideas, take responsibility for results. This will give you the confidence to take this new role and do it well.

At the same time, get involved in trainings. Talk to your manager, to your Human Resources department and also search by yourself trainings in the following areas: decision making, time management, planning and organizing, conflict management, leadership and team management, motivating your team, recruitment and selection, building trust in your team, building authority, project management – at least beginner level, risk management, organizing meetings, communication and anything that your manager and HR department recommends.

Only then you will be ready to apply for this new role in your company or in a different one. Becoming a manager takes a lot of work, but if you really want it and are determined enough to do the work and learn,  you will succeed. It means having a lot more responsibilities, but also more satisfaction when projects are done and results are visible.

Good luck and always follow your dreams, no matter what they are.
Geo