Seeing as I’m writing a blog on how to succeed as a training manager, I’m sure you can guess what my job role at Michael Management is. I work with all of our SAP instructors, and I've recently started a new pilot program, our SAP Live Training. In short, I manage (almost) all aspects of setting up our training at MMC.
Now comes the important question, ‘who am I to say what makes a successful training manager?’ Am I some kind of whiz kid training extraordinaire? Nope. And neither are 99% of training managers. We’re just well-intentioned professionals in the world of education.
But, since I have hands-on experience with managing SAP training, I might as well share my trials, tribulations, and successes with the hope of helping another training professional out.
Here are 5 of the most important lessons I’ve learned thus far as a training manager for Michael Management.
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I cannot stress this point enough. The success of your training program will almost SOLELY depend on your instructors. You may have fascinating, ground-breaking content, but if you don’t have someone who can effectively communicate it, you’ve essentially got nothing.
I’m going to sound like a cheese ball saying this, but I am a ‘go off of my gut’, ‘trust your intuition’ type of professional through and through. Having trust and rapport with your instructors will serve as the backbone of your training.
For example, Nicole Land teaches our SAP Jumpstart live training courses and I knew as soon as we started chatting that she and I were going to be a good team. Since then, we have built an incredible professional and personal relationship. And because of that, we work hard, always put in that extra effort, and have a great time doing it. I love going into training with Nicole because I know that she and I have the same dedication and passion for a great education.
Take your time, trust your instincts, and wait for that person who effortlessly fits in with your team. I know this is not always the case in time-sensitive scenarios, but if you can wait until you’ve struck gold, I HIGHLY encourage it.
At Michael Management, we have lots of communication with our students prior to our live training classes. We make sure they have their class resources, know who to go to if they need additional support, and confirm that they actually read our emails.
Before your training starts, make sure your students know that they are prioritized and taken care of. I have attended several pieces of training where I’ve barely heard from the organizer, and I haphazardly receive a link to a webinar the morning of. Don’t be this kind of training manager.
If I haven’t heard from a student, I’ll pick up the phone and chat through what needs to be done before the training begins. I always want to make sure that we all have the same expectations before training even begins.
We also send students an MMC coffee mug after they’ve completed their training. It’s just a little way for us to say that we really enjoy and appreciate our students.
Be the friendly face behind a training. Take care of your students from the get-go.
When we started planning our SAP live training, we decided that we didn’t want our classes to be 6 hours of students sitting silently, listening to us talk about SAP.
Since our classes are all virtual, we decided that we needed to shake up the approach to webinar-based training. Here are 2 of the secret ingredients for our live training sauce:
It’s easy to assume that EVERYONE will want to take your training. With all of the hard work put into it, there’s bound to be tons of students interested, right?!
Well, sometimes a course can be a fabulous idea in theory, and then belly flop when it comes to student sign-ups.
For example, we put a ‘waitlist’ on our website for a few different SAP topics just to gauge student interest. Two of our topics got multiple hits within the first day, and the third topic trickled in just a few.
We sincerely thought the course that just got a few responses was going to be a HIT. So, it just goes to show you that you need to confirm student demand before pulling the trigger.
Lots of time, money, and energy will be saved with just a bit of market research. Confirm interest first, and then start tackling the rest.
Humans are simple creatures. We respond well to people who take a genuine interest in our well-being. If you sincerely care about a student’s learning experience, everything else will come as second nature.
I’m not implying that you can simply just tell students, ‘you’re awesome’ and your training will go well. It will take A LOT of planning, constant adjusting, and a few headaches.
But, if you can couple your love for furthering education with an organized planning approach, you’ll be on your way to becoming a very successful training manager.
If you want to check out what we're up to to get a bit of inspiration (or to critique, I’m not here to tell you what to do), take a look at our SAP Live Training Page.