Why Workplace Training Shouldn't Get the Summer Off

It’s well past the start of summer, but does workplace training take a holiday too? Each year in July and August, class scheduling seems to slow. The common rationales: “We need to work around all those vacations.” “What day is the company picnic?” “Who wants to do training during the slow season?” “It’s too hot.”

summer vacationIt’s actually a good time to rethink the slow-down summer mentality. Last summer I was pretty busy both in person and virtually. This year has seemed to taper but there are still opportunities to book. I have never facilitated a session during July or August when participants have said, “I just can’t learn this month; my brain is on vacation.”

In many, if not most industries, there is really no slow season any more. We don’t live and work in a country where everyone takes a holiday for a month. Our organizations are wrapping up, planning, producing and strategizing. Here are a few smart ways to get more out of the summer calendar:

Schedule Make-up Sessions

The summer can be the perfect time to check who has missed out on requirements or recommendations and schedule make up training days. With half the year done everyone can be reminded of expectations to be completed by December 31st.  A bit of creative scheduling works around missing staff particularly when online options are available.

Tap Your In-House Expertise

If it looks like a class, or individual sessions, won’t fly take the time to identify some internal experts who can facilitate programs or review material.  They can recommend tweaks and content change in existing programs and look at what has been most successful on the job for themselves and co-workers. If content is designed for the general public, without expertise required, have an individual unfamiliar with the topic provide a critique. When I wrote a training manual for completing pre-employment I-9 forms a company admin with no knowledge of the process was one the most effective editors.

Test-Drive New Products

If workdays are a bit quieter set some time aside to review new products. This can be in person, online or simply checking out presentation overviews. Take the time now to find references and boost your library so that you can respond quickly to requests for new programs when they occur.

Stay on Schedule

Schedule classes as you would any other time of the year. Of course you might want to stay away from a Friday afternoon, or the day before Labor Day weekend, but Fridays are not traditionally training first choices any way. Many staff members look forward to off- site sessions in a nice air conditioned locale. Others will be able to fit the activity into their schedule. I doubt that everyone is taking the entire summer off.

The advantage of completing some training before the year end frenzy after Labor Day will outweigh any juggling of schedules needed to get everyone on board.

(Image courtesy of Flickr user JklingerCC 2.0)

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Rebecca Mazin is the owner of Recruit Right in Larchmont, N.Y. She does consulting, management training, and writing to create solutions for human resources issues. Co-author of The HR Answer Book: An Indispensable Guide for Managers and Human Resources Professionals, Mazin is also the author of The HR Answer Blog on AllBusiness.com and The Employee Benefits Answer Book (Pfeiffer).


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