Making Training Time Stick

Recently I was asking some software engineering leaders about what they do for training for members of their team or organization. The answers wouldn't surprise most engineering leaders. Aside from many stating that their organizations don't offer any training, most called out the standard fare of supplying books, budget for courses or workshops, and conferences, as well as potentially offering some amount of time for folks to work on self directed learning.

One thing all of us as leaders commiserated on, given the rise of COVID and lack of explicit time away from work for conferences, was that no matter how much encouragement we gave, many members of our team wouldn't take the time that they were given to do training in any form.

Individuals on my team have told me even though they know I encourage and provide support in the form of explicitly permitted time and budget to move forward on their desired form of training, and time in the form of weekly lunch and learn, they don't always take it because they get so wrapped up in their current work.

One great suggestion that came out of the discussion was to setup an accountability system, either with their manager or a peer on the team, where individuals are expected to deliver small, informal updates on what it was they did and learned during their training time. If you're running a small organization like I am this could be something that is facilitated during a weekly lunch and learn as well, similar to lightning talks. Even if folks end up reporting that a particular resource wasn't as valuable as they'd hoped, that's useful information for other folks considering it on the team.

I'd love to hear about training opportunities you offer to your team and how to ensure employees take the time you've given them for training opportunities.

Send me an email or a tweet.