What Your Team Really Wants When you Organise Training
3 things to consider when creating training for your pharmaceutical, biotech or medical device team
The concept of team training or corporate training is simple. Its aim is to improve the skills of individuals within a team, which in turn will improve their overall knowledge and skill in a specific area. Consequently, the team will perform with greater competence and confidence helping achieve long-term business objectives.
Due to the innovative, technical and regulatory nature of the industry, training is essential for life science organisations, so it is important to design training that people want to attend. In pharmaceutical, biotech or medical device companies team training is an effective tool in the L&D armoury to ensure the whole team is constantly up to date on the latest products, processes, regulations, techniques etc.
Finding the right solution to achieve these aims is far from simple. How often have you considered the needs, desires and worries of your team members when designing and selecting training? Do you identify what training each team member requires? Do you know what each team member’s career goals are? Do you ask your team for their opinion? Do you carefully design programmes to accommodate individual learning styles?
Here are 3 considerations when creating training for you team:
1. Avoid training on areas they already know
With so much training required in the pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device sectors it is quite easy to organise training that is not necessarily required. This wastes valuable time and resources, and it reduces your team’s engagement and enthusiasm levels towards the training. This means they are less likely to learn and benefit from it.
For example, you may have a team made up of varying levels of experience. Your team’s experience may range from new starters to those with 5+ years of experience. Your learning objective for the training may be to get everyone to the same level of knowledge and competency. To do this in one go requires your more experienced team members to undergo parts of the training they already know. An effective solution would be to split your team up and start the course with the basics on day one so your new starters benefit. Then on the second day your more experienced team members join the new starters and the training continues. By carefully designing the programme you can ensure no one wastes their time learning what they already know.
The exception to this….. Sometimes training is a regulatory requirement to demonstrate compliance. In this context it must be undertaken to ensure there is no drop off in knowledge and skill. Consider using a different trainer or delivery format such as online or blended (a combination of classroom and online learning). This keeps the training fresh and exciting.
2. Do not deliver dull training
Quite often the first thing that comes to mind when people think of training is a huge slide deck and a trainer talking through it for 2-days. This approach to training will put your team off and reduce the benefit of the training, again wasting time and resources.
Engagement and interactivity are essential when designing training. Depending on the delivery format this can be done in several ways including case studies, group exercises, gamification (fun competitive learning), tasks, open ended questions, polls and surveys.
An example is designing a case study that groups work through over the entire course through the use of an interactive tool. Each time they learn new concepts, skills and techniques they then work on their case study as a team completing tasks together. This helps cement the knowledge obtained as they will be applying their knowledge to a practical exercise. Why not create the case study so it is on one of your therapeutic products or processes? This means the team are learning and then applying their knowledge to their existing work projects.
Another way to develop engaging learning material is by creating a blended learning solution. By combining both online and classroom training you can create a varied training medium that encourages learning.
3. Career development – where will this take me?
Have you ever attended training where you have left unsure of key areas? Or the training had no clear benefit or alignment to your day-to-day role. Or you could not see how the training would benefit your individual development.
Individuals within your team want training to be more than just a tick box exercise. They want training that is clearly beneficial to their role. In addition, it is important to create training that adds value to those participating.
It is important to ensure knowledge learned during training is applied back at the workplace. Set post-learning exercises and follow up sessions with the trainer. This ensures the learning materials are fully understood by providing an opportunity for your team to access answers to any remaining questions.
They also want to see how the training aligns with their career plans. Career progression to your team does not mean they want a huge pay rise. Professionals want to see a clear development path whereby they acquire new skills and knowledge along the way. Training is a tool to gain new knowledge that can then be used in their role, improving their overall competency. Ultimately, this will open doors for them as opportunities present themselves. We would recommend discussing career objectives with each member of your team and discussing the pathway to achieve that.
When designing team training it is important to make training interactive, non-repetitive and with individual career development in mind. This will maximise learner engagement leading to added value through gains in knowledge, skills and competencies. Subsequently, the team, department and organisation will benefit.
Written by Alexander Pearce
Alex is a Director at Educo Life Sciences and has extensive experience of designing technical training programmes for the pharmaceutical, biotech and medical devices industry. He has developed both classroom and online training to support the development of life science professionals.