Training is an essential part of any organization’s foundation – but it isn’t the only part that matters.
No matter how engaging, life-changing, and exciting your sessions are, none of that matters if you don’t check in afterwards. Because a fundamental part of the learning process is the evaluation step.
It’s why teachers give quizzes. It’s why you need to take a driver’s test. It’s why doctors need continual education.
But as a changemaker, you aren’t doing it to pass or fail or divvy out meaningless points, but to help assess where we go next.
If you want your team to succeed, you need to create a system that consistently progress checks. So let’s look at 3 reasons why you need follow-up systems.
The Problem Isn’t Motivation
Before we head too deep into it, let’s clear something up.
I have heard a lot of trainers name this challenge:
“I want people to take action without having to ask me”
And I get that, it’s completely reasonable to want independent team members. But your learners aren’t necessarily failing to take action because they don’t want to. It could be because:
- They don’t have the proper tools
- The process is unclear
- They’re afraid of making a mistake
- They think a mistake could have serious consequences
- They don’t feel like you care about their progress
- They think you’re not available for support (or don’t know what support to ask for)
It could be a million reasons. But chances are that if they’re in your organization – it’s probably not a lack of motivation or vision. They just might not have the right tools for success.
So check in on them. Make sure you’re approachable. And be consistent in your follow-up system.
3 Reasons to Create Follow-Up Systems
Let’s not blame everything on lack of motivation and, instead, let’s focus on a solution. Here are 3 of the biggest reasons why you should establish a follow-up system in your organization.
They hold people accountable
Holding each other accountable is actually a fantastic strategy for your organization.
Note – I’m not talking about catching people off guard or monitoring them 24/7. We don’t want to make them more stressed and nervous.
I’m talking about friendly, routine check-ins. Simple questions like,
- Hey, how is the outreach going?
- Who do you have confirmed for the training so far?
- How do you think people have reacted to your invite?
It doesn’t need to be stressful, but it opens a window to talk about progress and any potential barriers.
And when you do this consistently, your staff will come to expect talking about progress in a relaxed, solution-oriented setting.
So we’re not scaring them into accountability – we’re making them consciously aware that progress –including all the challenges and successes that come along the way– can be openly discussed.
It improves consistency
Leaders that are consistent will inspire their team to do the same. It’s an idea I stand by and one that becomes crystal clear when it comes to follow-up systems.
Cynthia Gomez, the National Membership Engagement Director at Restaurant Opportunities Center once told me:
“We can’t ask for consistency if we ourselves aren’t consistent.”
It’s a classic example of practicing what you preach.
We can show our team the value of consistency by enacting a habit of following up. It creates a safer space to approach genuine feedback and establishes a solid foundation for growth.
Systems prepare your team for the worst
Now of course, no one wants to imagine things going sideways.
But life is full of challenges and surprising twists come about all the time. So when it comes to your organization – you’ll need more than one person who’s ready to stand guard.
And systems make it easy to come together as a team and fix any problems that come up.
If your team knows that a follow-up system is in place – and they expect trainers to openly reach out for feedback, then it becomes easier to continue doing so in the future.
So let’s say you break your leg or, on a brighter note, you take a sabbatical. When you are away from the organization, the systems in place will help support your team and continue moving along – even without you there.
But if there is no system in place, you’re essentially leaving them on a boat with no sail, drifting hopelessly.
Develop your system
If you don’t have clear follow-up systems in place – here is your sign to start crafting one. Build it into your existing routine.
And make sure it’s genuine, thoughtful, and solutions-oriented. The system should make life better for your staff, not more stressful.
So I’m curious to know – what does your system look like? What questions do you ask and when do you ask them?
Let me know in the comments below!