During one of my programs on Creating a Learning Culture, a participant asked, “How can we demonstrate a return on investment (ROI) for our training dollars?” While I’m not a financial wizard, I can tell you that it’s easy to multiply your training value with knowledge transfer activities.
What Is “Knowledge Transfer”?
Knowledge transfer is a fancy way of saying “telling other people what you know.” There are countless ways to conduct knowledge transfer. Some companies even invest in expensive software for this purpose. But if you want to improve team cohesion, interpersonal methods go a long way toward building trusting relationships.
Raise Your Hand… Politely
Perhaps you’re the self-appointed Hermione Granger of your team. You can share what you know without being a know-it-all. Try asking for accountability from your team. For example, you might say, “I just read a blog post on knowledge transfer. With that in mind, each time I attend a professional development webinar, I plan to write a brief synopsis to share with the team. Will you hold me to that?” If you do this every time your boss sends you to training, it shows you’re serious about your professional development. It also shows your manager that you’re a good investment.
Look for Cross-Training Opportunities
Ideally, everyone on your team has different skills and strengths. Reserve a few minutes during team meetings or schedule monthly cross-training sessions so each person can share. These can be formal or informal. The goal may be to actually train team members on different tasks or simply to create a greater awareness about what each person brings to the team.
Use formal and informal mentoring programs, manager/employee coaching sessions, and other one-on-one meetings to talk about professional development activities happening in and around the team.
Lunch & Learns and Book Clubs
Lunch & learns are a great way to introduce new concepts. They can also be used to help a new team member “show what they know” and add value while they’re still getting up to speed. Anyone can lead a lunch & learn, and you can even rotate the responsibility.
Your team can form a book club or use rotating “book report-outs” to keep up-to-date on your industry, customers, and skill sets. Better yet, bring in your customers as experts to speak to the team! They’d love to tell people in your office about the challenges they face and how you can better serve them.
Amplify Learning Opportunities
If you’re a member of a professional association , see if you can host member webinars for your team. That way, you’re paying one registration fee (or membership fee) and sharing the direct benefits with the whole group.
If attending as a group isn’t an option, you can still pass along topics of interest to people in your organization. Forward the notification email with a subject line that says, “I thought of you, have you seen this yet?”
How are you getting the most from your team’s training & development investment? Tell me in the comments!