Is Training Reinforcement a Priority? by Scott Newton, President of Graystone Associates

As funeral homes, crematories, and cemeteries invest time, talent, and treasures in educating their team members, it is equally important to invest the same efforts in training reinforcement. According to leading German psychologist, Herman Ebbinghaus as much as 90 percent of what employees learn in a formalized training session is forgotten or misunderstood within 30 days.

During our interactions with different funeral service firms and professionals, we hear a variety of reasons why training reinforcement does not happen. The top five reasons include what those in leadership, either owners or managers, need to consider.

  1. Time –They simply do not have time to do the training because they are too busy working in the business.
  2. Comfortability – They are not comfortable reinforcing the different topics discussed in training sessions.
  3. Distractions –They allow the distractions of our profession to dictate when/if we do reinforcement.
  4. Topics – They are unsure what needs to be reinforced and what training/tools to leverage. When this happens, training becomes very subjective instead of objective.
  5. Participation – in many cases, they throw their hands in the air and give up prematurely due to the lack of participation/engagement of those in the training.

Throughout the year we have the privilege of delivering over five hundred days of training and have since 2003. Although the content is delivered in a consistent manner the reinforcement following is what helps the training stick.

Organizations that make training reinforcement a priority are successful for several reasons and often have objective training where they can monitor growth.

When it comes to objective training it is vital that you pick training topics that are relevant to the needs of your team not something easy for you or the team. Using proprietary training tools, we often hear that those in leadership feel training reinforcement is easier to achieve compared to trying to create the training themselves. All training must be monitored to see if the training was effective. Using feedback received from those you serve (not your staff) on if the training is beneficial is always suggested. The strongest businesses in the world leverage feedback from others to determine if training reinforcement is working. Until results improve, training must remain a priority.

With technology being leveraged more in funeral service today compared to before, we must not take the human element out of training and reinforcement. Although some training can be done over different platforms, we must remember the value of interaction in training/reinforcement is priceless in getting buy-in from participants. Our failure to get buy-in from the group results in unanswered questions or training that will not stick.

Lastly, we must make time for training reinforcement. With time being the biggest challenge for most it is important that training be scheduled just like a funeral/visitation. When we make the training intentional and a priority, we set a standard within the organization highlighting its importance.

A wise man once said, “We make time for what we feel is important.”  

My hope is that you will strongly consider managing the time you spend on training reinforcement as you plan for your company’s needs this coming new year. Making the time it takes to help drive success, not just for your business, but for your team and your firm’s future growth opportunities is a good way to spend your time next year.