Make it stick

Polish your training strategy and see results! Paul Matthews of People Alchemy talks about boosting performance with training follow-up.

As a franchisor, you must train people.

You know that.

One of the things the franchisee is buying is your expertise, and your ability to help them create a successful business. But have you ever been frustrated with the results of your training, or even just frustrated because you have no measures to understand whether the training you do is even working?

As a franchisor, the people you are training ‘belong’ to someone else. You often have very limited control over what happens before or after a training course. Indeed, you sometimes have little control over who even turns up for the course. And yet you know, because any professional trainer knows, that what happens before, and particularly what happens after, a training course is critical to the success of that course in terms of operational results.

Given this state of affairs, two questions arise:

  1. Who is responsible for delivering those activities before and after a training course that are essential for success?
  2. Who needs to be held accountable for ensuring they happen? Maybe the delegates come to your premises, maybe you run a training course on their premises, or maybe you provide a training course as e-learning.

In any event, the relationship you have with the delegates typically stops at the end of the day.

You can do the best you can during the course itself to set people up to practise what they have learned after the course. You send them off back to work and cross your ngers that you have done enough. But without proactive collaboration from the franchisee organisation and the delegate’s line manager, you know that a lot of what you have been teaching will not embed as new behaviours or be sustained over time.

Perhaps the franchisee knows this as well, although many of them don’t, but even the ones who do seldom have anything proactive and constructive in place to assist delegates in implementing their new-found knowledge and skills within the workplace.

Everyone loses because the training event is not part of a proper training programme with follow-up. Or do they?

Stop and consider why you are doing the training:

  • Is it because the contract you have with your franchisee requires you to do a certain amount of training each year, regardless of the results?
  • Is it because the franchisees pay for the training and to you it is a revenue stream? If some people have to come back and get trained on the same stuff again, so be it.
  • Is it because you know it is the only way the franchisee staff will learn what they need to know and enable the franchise to become successful?
  • Is it because this is what you have always done, and nobody is really questioning why?
  • Is it to protect your reputation because you want the people working for the franchisees competent enough at the point of delivery that your brand does not suffer?

Again… why are you doing the training?

The answer you come up with might mean that what you are currently doing in terms of training is working well and achieving what is needed. Well done!

Thank you for readingthis article and you can move on to the next one! Still here? I guess that means you are like most franchisors I have spoken with, where there is a lot of frustration that arises from the lack of collaboration and joined- up thinking between franchisor and franchisee when it comes to training.

To fix this, first take a step back and re-examine your overall strategy as a franchisor and determine where training could be used to help execute elements of that strategy. That should lead to some clarity for you on what the training needs to achieve for both you, as franchisor, and for the franchisee.

You now have some high-level outcomes that are likely to be focused around business success and performance rather than learning. Given these outcomes, how do you need to change the way you currently conduct training to meet them?

It is almost certain you will conclude that the traditional event- based approach is not enough, and any training course must be part of a longer programme. This in turn means that, in a franchising situation, it is imperative that franchisor and franchisee get together and collaborate on the design of the programme and determine who is going to be responsible for the different components and steps in the programme, and who is ultimately accountable for results.

If either party does not play their role, both parties suffer. This lose/lose outcome is far too common and leads to a lot of pointing ngers. It doesn’t have to be that way. If both parties do play their role, both parties gain.

Effective learning transfer

In effect, you need to place your collaborative focus on ‘learning transfer’ – the term used in learning and development circles for the effective embedding and sustaining of knowledge and skills delivered during a training course. If the skills you are teaching on a training course are not nding their way into habitual day-to-day operational behaviours, the training course was wasted.

This ‘training partnership’ to ensure effective learning transfer is almost certainly a new approach for you. But it is possible to do, and it is the only way you will significantly increase the performance return on the investment you are making in training.


Paul Matthews is a speaker, consultant and author on learning and performance.

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