If you're like most staffing leaders than you're probably planning a skills improvement initiative for later this year or you're currently in the middle of sales and/or recruiter training program. Or, perhaps you’re in the midst of sustaining sales transformation initiative. Call it what you will but either way, your organization has launched a change management initiative. Asking employees to adopt new skills and behaviors means you're asking your employees to change their normal work routines and behaviors.
let’s assume for a second that you did the hard work and created a world class strategy, built engaging training content, and you secured buy-in from the field. Let’s also assume you delivered a compelling learning experience for your employees in which employee feedback was overwhelmingly positive.
Now imagine its time for your team to start applying the new strategies, messaging, skills and behaviors. Will your world class strategy and engaging content guarantee lasting
results? According to John Kotter’s book Leading Change, 70% of major transformations efforts fail. So how do you beat those odds and achieve lasting results?
A common mistake in the pursuit of employee training and skill enhancement is an overemphasis on the launch of the training initiative and an under emphasis on the post launch training reinforcement and user adoption phase. To avoid this, sales leaders should really think of any skill improvement initiative as a change management initiative. When sales leaders make the decision to enroll their sales team in sales training, what they’re really saying is “we need our sales team to change the way they sell.” This requires leaders to understand how to effectively lead change and adopt change management principles and best practices.
Successful change management is the practice of driving business results by changing behaviors and is led from the top, the sales leader. Change management is a method for reducing and managing resistance to change such as asking team members to adopt a new idea, skill, behavior, message or strategy. Completing a sales training or recruiter training program requires learners to change current behaviors by stopping the “old way” of doing things and adopting the “new way.” People naturally resist to changing their comfortable work routine because applying new ideas, skills and behaviors can create uncertainty and stress. To achieve the desired business results and sustain the desired change in behavior, you ultimately need people who are committed to success, motivated to get results and who possess the knowledge and tools to get the job done.
Post launch reinforcement and user adoption encompasses everything that a direct supervisor will need to do in order to support his or her employee(s) to ensure the new behaviors, skills and messaging become standard operating procedure. Post launch reinforcement and user adoption starts with mapping out what employees can expect from their manager, including how they will be supported, coached, and evaluated on what they learned during training. Whether it’s how to deliver a message, sell to an executive, craft an email or voice-mail message or how to have a strategic, consultative conversation, there are several post launch reinforcement user adoption essentials managers must deploy.
Keep in mind that post-launch reinforcement activities may feel like extra work, but those supporting activities lead to application which leads to adoption and eventually habits which drive sales results. Creating a culture of continuous learning and coaching maximizes your investment in the change initiative. Sales leaders including front line sales managers should begin by focusing on and prioritizing the behaviors that will be changing post training and create a reinforcement and user adoption that highlights the specific tasks and events that occur during and after the training to reinforce and drive those behaviors. The plan should detail the activities and exercises the learners will participate as well as the role of the manager play and cadence or frequency in which the activities and exercises occur.
To learn more about sustaining lasting sales change download our eBook, The Staffing Leader's Guide to Sales Enablement.