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The Essential Guide to Training Your Warehouse Trainer in 2021

Training Your Warehouse Trainer

Table of Contents

Why Training Your Warehouse Trainer Matters

Trainer. Skills Trainer. Training Specialist. Learning Consultant. Regardless of the title, the role of a warehouse trainer is vital. Trainers in the industry are essential. They can provide mandatory training like health & safety instructions that every worker has to refresh from time to time. Trainers also play a crucial role in the onboarding process when new employees start. Especially in logistics, where seasonality relies on the onboarding of many employees at the same time, the trainer plays an important role in company success.

When hiring new trainers or helping existing employees become trainers, you should have a wishlist of skills already in mind. Once you understand the relevant requirements for the job, you can start helping your trainer team to improve their existing talents. As a result, your trainers will be more effective in their roles and your warehouse will save money and resources thanks to a well-trained, productive warehouse team. The backbone of this strategy is to provide your trainers with effective instructional design training so they can create the optimal training for your warehouse workers. 

While they serve in similar roles in a warehouse, managers and supervisors have a different set of key skills than trainers. Although there is some overlap, training trainers requires you to focus on different skills than those crucial for training managers and supervisors. 

For instance, warehouse managers and supervisors must possess 9 key skills. These are: 

  1. Excellent communication
  2. Effective delegation
  3. Strong motivational skills
  4. Problem-solving skills
  5. Flexibility
  6. In-depth knowledge of company processes and procedures
  7. The ability to train
  8. Customer-oriented behavior
  9. Teamwork skills

As you can see, only some of these are relevant specifically to trainers. This is why it is crucial to train warehouse trainers with their particular role and skill requirements in mind. 

Why Instructional Design Training Is Important

The backbone of this strategy is to provide your trainers with effective instructional design training so they can create the optimal training for your warehouse workers. The Association for Talent Development defines instructional design as “the creation of learning experiences and materials in a manner that results in the acquisition and application of knowledge and skills.” In other words, training your trainers to use instructional design best practices enables them to provide their warehouse worker trainees with the knowledge and skills the workers need to do their jobs well. 

The 3 Core Aspects of Instructional Design: 

1. Analysis

You can prepare your trainers to be more reactive and capable of handling workers’ unique training requirements by ensuring they know how to conduct a needs analysis. Trainers should be able to identify and understand what training solution is appropriate. They should begin developing clear training goals and learning objectives for the trainee. 

2. Design & Development

Trainers with good instructional design training can develop and deliver actionable instructional materials and methods that lead to positive training outcomes for the worker. 

3. Evaluation

You can empower your trainers to provide the best possible training to workers by encouraging them to regularly evaluate and adjust their training methods as needed. Some popular evaluating models your trainer can use include: 

5 Key Skills for Warehouse Trainers 

Although there are many different ways to become a trainer, there are certain essential skills for trainers necessary to overcome the common challenges they face in a warehouse. 

Here are 5 key skills every good trainer needs and useful tips for how you can best help your trainers develop professionally. 

1. Excellent communication

Training is a combination of understanding problems, conducting training, and clearly expressing company ideas. A competent trainer can explain complex processes to new hires in simple terms and practice active listening. Trainers need to establish a good rapport with employees and should be prepared to ask open-ended and clarifying questions. 

Facilitation and presentation are important aspects of good communication skills. Encourage trainers to create a safe training space to facilitate learning and open discussion. It also boosts the trainers’ credibility among the warehouse workers. Employees will be more receptive to a trainer that shares real experiences and stories of growth compared to one that reads from a script or shuts down their opinions. Employees who feel like their ideas are valued are more likely to stay loyal to their employer. This prevents high fluctuation in your warehouse, which can be costly and time-consuming

Because an audience of adult learners only has an attention span of 8 seconds, trainers must deliver engaging content quickly and with confidence. Trainers should avoid relying heavily on notes while giving instructions. Warehouse trainers must also keep in mind that while health and safety protocols might seem obvious to them, they need to clearly communicate every aspect of these protocols to workers. 

TIP: Hearing so much information at once can be mentally draining. A good trainer monitors the energy in the room and knows when to offer listeners a break. 

2. Strong Analytical Thinking 

Warehouse trainers need to be able to analyze individual situations and big-picture goals to provide meaningful training. This relies on trainers actively working to understand and anticipate their trainees’ needs. Warehouse trainers should tailor training sessions to the specific audience and topic to ensure their training is relevant to the trainees’ work and experience level. Trainers must be able to identify the trainees’ individual learning styles and adjust their training accordingly, making sure to include plenty of practical examples and hands-on practice sections.

“Think about the skill set of the worker; What do they need to do their job?” Mary – Supply Chain Manager

You can boost your trainers’ analytical skills by providing them with instructional design training. As part of the evaluation stage, it is important to encourage trainers to collaborate with stakeholders, including the trainees, to continuously improve their training materials and methods. This promotes transparency between trainers and managers and ensures that your warehouse workers’ training needs are being met.  

TIP: Provide trainers with as much information as possible about their trainees to help them create an effective training plan and encourage your trainers to get feedback from the participants after every session.

3. Organizational Skills

Organization is a must-have skill for any trainer. Especially when training warehouse workers in the logistics industry, it is important to organize the training as efficiently as possible. Time is money. Every moment a worker spends training or retraining is time spent away from their role.  However, effective training for warehouse employees saves the warehouse money in the long-run. To balance the need for well-trained warehouse workers against the tight time constraints of a warehouse, trainers should optimize training modules to the workers’ specific roles and upskilling needs.  

Trainers are often juggling many tasks. A good trainer is continuously learning about your industry and the needs of each role. They are also regularly analyzing training needs and creating new material. At the same time, trainers are preparing for and facilitating training sessions.

Time management and organization go hand in hand for trainers, so calendars and to-do lists are a must.

TIP: Plan your training carefully in advance and make sure the learning environment is appropriate and free of distractions.

4. Passion for Learning

Learning in any workplace, office, or warehouse is a continuous process. Trainers must set an example for continued learning. Employees will be able to sense their trainer’s passion for learning.

For example, a warehouse trainer should follow new insights and best practices in the field of training. They should be aware of industry-specific trends and policies. Trainers can examine and adapt techniques used in other industries to improve their own training strategies.  

TIP: Workshops within the trainer team can encourage people to share experiences, improve their training, and keep on learning. You can also hire experienced trainers from outside of your company to teach the latest training techniques.

5. In-depth Industry Knowledge

“Learn it yourself. Go to the workers and get to know their job.” Mary – Supply Chain Manager

While a passion for learning generally is important, in-depth industry knowledge is an important enough attribute to deserve its own spot on this list. Imagine you are an employee working on the floor of a logistical warehouse. You attend mandatory training on “The Art of Feedback.” The training summary states you will learn how to deliver and receive feedback. During the practice, all the examples and role-playing exercises take place in a law office or bank. Would you be able to connect to the material in this situation? Would you trust that the trainer understands the challenges of your job? – Of course not. Warehouse workers rely on training that is relevant to their role and industry.

You can give your trainers the tools they need to succeed in developing your warehouse workers’ knowledge and skills by encouraging them to follow industry trends and incorporate this information into their training materials. Ensure your trainers have the insight into their trainees’ roles and the demands of your warehouse they need to determine the best training method.

You can empower your trainers to succeed by being honest about the challenges your warehouse workers are currently facing and what challenges you predict they will face in the future. This will help your trainers to understand the trainees’ point of view and to anticipate and prepare for questions the trainees may ask them during the training sessions. This is especially important for training topics like workplace safety or departmental regulations and procedures. The training must be relevant to the warehouse workers’ specific roles, challenges, and location. Otherwise, the training will be a waste of time and money. 

TIP: Let the trainers spend time with your workers to see the real circumstances of the job. They don’t have to know every detail of the job, but they should be familiar with the topic and common terms the workers use to describe their tasks.

Extra Steps You Can Take to Train Your Trainers

Training high-quality warehouse trainers is a continuous process. By empowering your trainers to apply the 5 key skills described in this article, you can ensure your warehouse workers receive the most relevant, engaging, and efficient training possible. When workers are well-trained, the warehouse benefits. Other ways you can enable your trainers to perform well in their roles include: 

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”  – Henry Ford

Training never ends, especially not for a warehouse trainer. Help your warehouse be successful by ensuring your warehouse trainers are informed and prepared to help employees’ deliver their best work.

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