It’s a new year! This is a great time to start creating, reviewing,
updating and implementing new practices for your organization.
This month let’s look at staff training.
Staff training is a critical piece to the success of any organization. Without it employees are flying by the seat of their pants assuming they are doing the right things in their role, but could potentially be doing more harm than good.
Reasons for training vary depending on the goals and needs for the organization. Some of these include:
· Carry out the organization’s mission
· Increasing fundraising
· Improving risk management
· Improving donor, employee, volunteer and client satisfaction
· Career development
Now that you know the why of training let’s look at the how, starting with the "6 Best Practices: Is Your Nonprofit Staff Training Effective?" by Rebecca Wyatt
1. Training should support organizational goals
First, identify attainable goals and work towards them across all actions of our organization. Then, identify learning objectives for each training session that tie directly back to those organizational goals. If the training isn’t going to help you achieve your goals, it’s probably better to invest valuable resources elsewhere.
2. Effective training links to clearly articulated job descriptions and work processes
Similar to articulating organizational goals, you must also clearly articulate job descriptions and work processes. Once those are clearly defined, it’s much easier for your training program to define what success looks like. 3. Vary your training methods
While instructor-led training is great for the delivery of key skills and concepts, nothing beats ongoing coaching for reinforcing those concepts and fine-tuning the results. Remember to keep these sessions fun and engaging
4. New hires should complete a thorough orientation
Start early! Training new employees bonds them with senior staff and conveys that they’re a valued part of the team. New hire orientation also exposes them to the organization’s culture and sets a tone of continuous learning and improvement right from the beginning. Nonprofits are uniquely positioned to inspire new employees around the organization’s mission.
5. Job-related information and training should be readily available
Curating and managing job-related information is an ongoing task as the body of knowledge tends to grow over time. Identify the information and tools employees need to perform their jobs well and invest in a robust knowledge-management system so that they can find it.
6. Create a culture of learning
Leaders must demonstrate that learning is valued by continuously seeking their own professional development opportunities and sharing their enthusiasm with staff.
They must also include learning outcomes in staff professional goal setting and performance evaluations. A culture of learning doesn’t stop at formal training - we learn from each other.
Blog authour Rebecca Wyatt has 15 years of experience in nonprofit management and training, racking up good karma points doing everything from teaching high school English to helping harried nonprofit staff sharpen their software skills. She works for Salsa Labs, a supplier of nonprofit CRM software located in Bethesda, Maryland.
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
Program & Outreach Director for VCMC