How Effective Are Your Trainers?


By:  Jason Grooms

Training is a part of every business whether it’s formal or informal, classroom or on-the-job. New hire orientations, skills development, leadership skills, even regulatory training is part of our everyday company process, but how effective are these programs? Are they really accomplishing what you created them for? Are you getting the return on your training investment that you need? Companies invest in training to change or create a new performance or behaviors. Is it happening in your business?

If you do not know the answer, you may have to evaluate your training process beginning with the point of contact for your training, the trainer. How do you know if the trainer is actually helping to change employee performance? What do you look for?  In this article, we will outline three simple observations you can make to determine if your trainers are having the effect you need to show return on your training investment.

The most effective way to make these observations is to sit in on a training class yourself, but if you cannot be there in person, make sure whoever is sitting in has clear instructions on what they are looking for and how to judge what is and is not supposed to happen.

Real World Connections 

When it has immediate application to their job. Learners are also much more likely to begin using the concepts right away when the trainer helps them come up with examples relevant to their specific job. Look for the trainer to make personal connections between the subject matter and the employee’s work situations. Are the activities designed around getting the participants to outline and apply the concepts to something they are dealing with? If not, then the information is most likely not going to be applied once the employees return to their work space.

Allowing for Discovery 

The old method of “training as a lecture” has been proven ineffective and can be damaging to your employee’s perception of training. One non-stop lecture will not get the performance changes you are looking for. Even the most talented speaker will effect only a small percentage of the participants because of differences in learning style. The best way to increase retention is to increase participation. 


Alliance’s leadership certification program cites a 90/10 rule. The trainees should be speaking 90% of the time and the trainer 10%. Although that may seem a bit extreme, it does illustrate an important concept. Training is not lecturing, it’s facilitating. If your trainers are simply lecturing for hours on end, then the only thing you will be getting from the class is a room full of glassy-eyed stares. Watch for the trainer to deflect some of the participants’ questions to others in the class. They should be getting the class to discover as much of the knowledge for themselves as the material allows.

Open Learning Environment 

When participants sit for a training class, do they look like eager learners or sentenced prisoners? An effective trainer should be able to increase the level of participation by making trainees feel confident and comfortable. Look for the way they respond to an incorrect answer. Did they do their best to maintain the person’s self-esteem?  Did the trainer seem sincere and interested in the learning of the class? Put yourself in the employee’s place. Would you want to answer again after that response from the trainer? If not, then you may want to work on the trainer’s level of respect with participants.

If your trainers are performing these three basics then you are likely getting your money out of the training. If not, then it may be time for some trainer training seminars or skills development. Training is a big investment in capital and labor and should fall under the same standards of application and performance as any other operational process.

By:  Jason Grooms

© 2015 Alliance Training and Consulting, Inc.



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