The Five Costly Errors of Spring Training 


By Phil Harwood

A common complaint in our industry is that there’s not enough time for spring training, that it’s too expensive and not worth the investment. I wholeheartedly disagree. If administered properly, spring training will result in higher engagement, fewer mistakes, better retention, and higher profits while poorly administered spring training is costly and will not produce the intended results. There are five costly errors of spring training. 

Error #1

It is very common for training to begin the same day as spring operations begin. In other words, virtually no training exists outside of on-the-job training. This is a recipe for disaster. It will most likely lead to costly mistakes, frustration, and employee turnover. Best practice is to begin training sessions several weeks before operations begin. There obviously is a cost to this. But there is a much greater cost to not training. 

Error #2

Another costly mistake is to hold one spring kick-off meeting and assume that it is sufficient. Not only is it insufficient for those who are able to attend, it is completely insufficient for those who are not able to attend because of a scheduling conflict or because they have not been hired yet. Best practice is to hold ongoing training sessions throughout the spring season and continuing throughout the year. Spring training sessions are by far the most critical because of the amount of activity in the spring and because of the multiplication effect of learning how to do something the right way early in the season. 

Error #3

A third costly mistake is for managers to handle all of the training while experienced veterans watch on the sidelines. Not only does this approach create an unnecessary burden on management, it also fails to tap into the vast knowledge and experience of seasoned pros on your team. Best practice is to let your veterans handle as much of the training as possible. Rookies will be much more engaged listening to one of their peers than they will by hearing from another manager, especially if managers don’t have tons of field experience. 

Error #4

Spring training is all about fundamentals. This is an opportunity to perfect the basics. Don’t assume that everyone remembers what happened last year. Fine details are often forgotten from season to season. Best practice is to hold mini spring training sessions for each upcoming task. Explain what, how, and why. The “why” is especially important for our new generation of workers. They want to understand why something matters, what the benefits are, and why they should care. 

Error #5

Most of the training sessions I have attended over the years have been really terrible. Picture a group of people standing on a cold cement floor in a dark shop, listening to a manager drone on and on. Coffee, donuts or pizza do not make this training experience any better. Best practice is to perform training on-site if conditions allow. If not, training should be done in a comfortable well-lit environment such as a boardroom or nice conference room. The use of photos or video improves this training experience. If your people are not walking away from a training experience saying, “Wow, that was awesome,” you have missed the mark. 

Spring training may be costly, but only if errors are made. 

GrowTheBench was created to help remove the burden of training your people. If you’re not using GTB yet, we’d love to hear from you. What are we missing? What is holding you back? What would you need to see to get on board? 

Now go forth. 

Tags: Onboarding , Training , Spring , Spring Training , New Hire ,