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Leveraging Group Dynamics in Employee Training

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Training is the key to creating teams, organizations, and realizing business objectives. We are no more in a world where things are predictable – successful hires are random, unless it is being done by a leading expert in a field and in a narrow field. Generally, the HR people recruit across a broad range of job functions, and truly speaking, there are very few predictors of success of an employee. The only thing that a company might do is to train people to do their jobs and orient them to company culture and objectives.

To this end, for business success, employee training becomes very important, and as it is extremely expensive to provide individual training, we train employees in groups, and it is through training that groups become teams. This article is about a few quick pointers on the importance of using group dynamics to deliver successful training. As humans are social beings, they behave in certain ways when in a group, and leveraging those traits allows the group to learn quickly, while neglecting those traits can be costly.

Leveraging group dynamics for training - what to watch and how to align your training
  • Company groups or people who share job functions are usually tasked with and identify with a common set of business goals - employee training must be focused towards or aligned with those goals to maximize learning

  • Groups and teams have their own norms and unspoken rules. If your training is to succeed you need to identify those rules, and adapt to them, unless some rule is against the goals of your training. For example, a group can have established a norm to have a certain member speak first, and it is more time-effective to allow that rule to stay in most situations, because that is the guy whom other members of the group would be asking for explanations out of sight of the trainer or on the workplace - however, if you are giving sales training and teaching each member of the group to be a better communicator, accepting that rule can stand in the way of your training.

  • Try to find whether the target group is already structured or whether they are informally trying to form a structure. Identify the structure and deliver accordingly, unless again, following the structure is detrimental to your training

  • Spot role conflicts and use them to advantage for learning in a competitive environment, or assuage them so that they do not hamper the learning process

  • People who crave attention may try to dominate training sessions, while others may be criticizing. Do not jump to conclusions. More often than not, people who crave attention are people who are always trying to outperform others. Training works on them unless they are already full of their own opinions on everything. At the same time, people who may not be articulate enough to dominate sessions may be great workers and problem solvers. Spot, choose and use group dynamics to make your training effective

  • Generation groups are quite evident in workplaces, and knowledge about generations must be used to address and appeal to different generations of workers
Group dynamics is bound to play an important role in training sessions, and this is why it is imperative for the trainer to be aware about techniques of dealing with a variety of group situations and working with groups.