Successful companies who use NexTech’s online plumbing, electrical and HVAC training program meet with their students on a regular basis to discuss their learning and growth. As you learned in the previous post of this series, it’s crucial to stay disciplined by adhering to the goals and standards you’ve set. Holding consistent check-ins with your trainees goes hand-in-hand with that; once you’re committed to training, you have to be committed to being available to each learner as they progress.
Meeting as a Group
There are benefits to both types of meetings. If you’re in a group, you get a collective sense of how training methods are currently being implemented and received in your company. Group meetings are also more interactive and can foster new ways of thinking and problem solving. Using this time to work through skill assessments or discuss reflections exercises is an efficient way to move the needle on student progress. Your employees-in-training can bounce ideas or questions off one another; technicians with a range of experience are present to give their expertise.
Meeting Students 1:1
One-on-one meetings ensure no one remains in the background. Some students may also feel safer asking questions or admitting problems in a more private setting.
Stay Focused: Progress, Roadblocks and Key Actions
You’re allowed to be efficient in your meetings and focus on these three things. 1. What progress did the student make? Have them lead the conversation. Ask open-ended questions instead of questions that can be satisfied with a simple yes/no answer. 2. What is proving challenging for them? Identify these roadblocks now so the student feels heard, but schedule a time to address them another time. These issues may require another technician or setting to be worked through properly (and more time than you’ve set for the meeting). 3. Lastly, what are the next steps? What key actions need to happen this week or before the next meeting?
Meeting Details to Consider
- Timing: Is there a way to schedule meetings in blocks to maximize trips to the office? If connecting at the office is a challenge, video conferencing allows for flexibility and still provides the important face to face connection.
- Location: Perhaps you’ve decided one of your check-ins will be to complete skills assessments, which are better suited in a lab or on a service call rather than at the office. Plan these details out thoughtfully.
- Resources: Would it be useful to create a checklist of the documents you’d want handy for your check-ins? This could include your Training Leader Guide, a one-on-one form that the student completes in advance Skills Assessment and Reflection Exercises they are working on.
- Participants: As the Training Leader, you’re mainly responsible for the progress of students, but consider who else may be useful in these meetings. Should their supervising technicians be a part of the check-ins?
Best of Both Worlds
What if you held one NexTech group meeting every two weeks and also scheduled a 1:1 with each student every week? That would mean every student had 4-6 check-ins a month. This way, students are given private and collective attention and opportunities to ask for support.
In It Together
Consistently checking in with your students will reinforce the knowledge that training is a team effort. You, and the company as a whole, will be there to support their efforts in learning their trade and what it takes to bring excellent customer service to future clients. Setbacks and challenges will arise, as expected in new learning environments. The next article on the Law of Accountability will dive into the importance of and difference between incentives and consequences — both will help your students succeed.