No Image Available

Josie Roberts

Read more from Josie Roberts

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Diary: Space – the final frontier


With training rooms redeployed to other parts of the organisation training manager Josie Roberts is faced with one option, to take her flip chart and move - frequently. It's far from ideal...

Every now and then I have work against the misconception that to train is simply to stand up and tell.  It is a very common belief amongst managers and sadly even crops up in the odd trainer.

Like most organisations we are working as efficiently as possible, it’s defending my definition of “possible” that is taking up my time at the moment.  Two issues have arisen.

Starting a new job is a stressful event and on your first day there is a lot to take in.  There are the official things to learn such as dress code, company profile, business codes etc.  Then there are the multiple other things such as everyone’s names, where the coffee machine is and what equipment/systems you will be using.  Underneath all this learning are key questions about how well someone will fit in, a lot of which is about the unspoken rules.  If you’re making tea – do you make it for everyone?  Is it Ok to leave at home time or is the culture one where everyone stays late?  Who will I go for lunch with?

“I put together handy session on how the brain learns so that managers could learn for themselves why all this messing about with training is going to translate in to poorer results but no-one ever quite has time to attend.”

It’s exhausting so we don’t expect people to remember too much from day one.  Only now that is being seen as a wasted afternoon.  We have a range of call handling courses designed to build up from basic call structure to dealing with highly emotional customers.  I was asked to schedule the first of these for the afternoon of the first day. 

All my courses are highly interactive and demanding of the participants and I just couldn’t see this working.  I pride myself on meeting all my employer requests but the thought of trying to take slightly bewildered new recruits through intensive training while they are still getting to grips with where their desk is too much!  We have compromised and we are giving them a new version which is going to be extremely light and easy and every element will be repeated as they progress. 

The other aspect of concern is where we train.  Office consolidation has swallowed up rooms and we have just had one of our training rooms commandeered for other purposes.  We are assured that this is short term but no leeway is being given on expectations for other training being completed.  Exactly where it can take place is still being argued over. 

There is a serious suggestion that some spare desks in a busy office be used.  It’s a suggestion I’ve rejected in the past.  I’ve tried to explain the concept that trying to take in new information whilst surrounded by all the normal noises of an office: photocopiers, phone calls, general chat etc. is asking too much.  I can’t see some of our more lively energisers going down that well against a backdrop of people trying to talk to customers either.    

We are currently knitting together a timetable making use of every empty slot in any meeting room that we can find.  There will be breaks and practicals scheduled around available room space and we’ll be traipsing between rooms clutching flip charts and manuals but it will work.  What that will do for retention is another matter. 

Being me, I put together handy session on how the brain learns so that managers could learn for themselves why all this messing about with training is going to translate in to poorer results in the office but no-one ever quite has time to attend.  Funny that!

Josie Roberts is a pen name for a training manager working in the private sector

Read Josie's previous diary entries:

Talking targets

What to do about non-attenders?

A rookie mistake

Metrics that don't measure up

Time waits for no-one


Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!