Retaining Knowledge

I conduct several trainings a week besides teaching college students at two different universities.

It is always interesting to me who really retains the information they are taught and who barely remembers it after they leave the room.

This reminds me of when I was growing up and had to learn a lot of facts and figures but once the exam was over, all that flew out of my head.

If companies are spending a significant amount on training their employees, what can be done to ensure that they are effective? 

In my opinion, it starts with the executive team.

If managers, supervisors, and employees see the senior leaders engaged in the trainings and that they are applying what they are learning then they serve as role models for others.

The most successful trainings I have is when these executives not only participate but then follow up days, weeks, and months later with their subordinates to reinforce various concepts.

The opposite is when these leaders do not feel the need to come to the trainings, make excuses that they either know the material, and/or they have more pressing demands. 

That may be true, but I find it odd that some of the most profitable companies have their executives in the training room with the others.

Many biographies/autobiographies of successful corporate executives state that the most effective leadership skills are self-awareness and being a continuous learner.

If that is so, then what is going on here?

One way that my clients reinforce these trainings is to have a library near the break room that is filled with various books that align with some of the topics taught. 

Once a month, other leaders use their weekly staff meeting to watch a video or to discuss an article that goes into greater detail about a concept that was covered in trainings.

Other clients have created book clubs that are attended by different groups within the organization, such as women and junior employees. 

Another example is if certain employees are chosen to attend a conference, they are required to teach others when they return.

By explaining what they learned to others, it helps the attendees absorb the information in a different way.

Having a growth mindset by learning new things is essential in the workplace. 

More companies are seeing the value of offering trainings to their employees but now they need to identify ways to reinforce vital concepts and ideas.