Trainers as Translators: Bringing Company Culture to Life

September 06, 2023 | 404 Views

Trainers as Translators: Bringing Company Culture to Life

Damian Hanft

CHART President | Vice President, Talent Experience | Inspire Brands

This article by 2023-2024 CHART President Damian Hanft was originally published in the September 2023 flipCHART.

I hate the word training. It’s not that I don’t love watching people learn, grow, and develop, it's that the word “training” is often looked at as a task and a quick solution to an immediate problem. What’s worse is that the quick solution may feel good as something was done, but it may not have any lasting impact on the root of what you were trying to solve.

We need to reimagine how we look at our role within our organizations and companies. Ultimately, we are translators. Leadership has a vision that gets passed onto us, and then we need to reformulate it into something that is executable by our frontline team members. However, that vision may not be grounded in reality of what the true needs are or what is possible. So, then we take feedback from our operators and use our on-the-ground knowledge to align with leadership. We’re often put in the middle, translating the needs on both sides – that of leadership to the field and that of the field to leadership. Those of us that do this well have the greatest success as there is buy-in on both sides with the programs we launch.

When you think of your training role as a translator, you begin thinking not just about the tactical objective, but how what you’re doing impacts the entire organization. When we think about it, there is a significant culture element that you reinforce (for better or worse) with everything you launch. This could include the tone, recognition that is incorporated, storytelling, and how you position the “why” behind what you are launching.

So, are you *just* training? Or, are you acting as a strategic partner; one that not only impacts culture, but creates it? Although your training may have a single objective (e.g. launch a new product), what other elements of your culture are being impacted simultaneously as you go to market? Being intentional connects the individual training initiatives to a larger, well-thought-out plan with strategic objectives.

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