GUEST EDITOR – Jill Benko
Preparation helps field talent successfully move to in-housetraining
I imagine most of you have addressed this issue as part of your training role: How can someone from the field move into a full-time, in-house training position with perhaps somewhat limited experience and exposure? It’s not at all unusual for field colleagues to get a taste of training and look to set themselves up for future growth when available.
Making that transition from a field-based trainer role into a home office full-time position can be done effectively and will surely set the right person up for a bright and successful path.
Allow me to speak directly to your field talent. If what I am discussing here resonates with you, please share this article with them.
First there should be a discussion with the first-line leader to convey the desired next step. I also recommend seeking out an internal mentor as well as discussing the possibility of identifying a sponsor. Both individuals are exceptionally important not just for the next career move, but for long-term growth within the organization.
Mentors are critical to anyone’s development as they can provide you with help navigating through identified blind spots and networking and are thought partners as well as trusted colleagues and advisors. I would suggest creating a top five list of individuals within your organization with desired skill sets (e.g, leadership, executive presence, strategic mindset, etc.) that you would want to learn from in your new role to help your professional growth.
It’s also important to get the job description from HR for the role you are seeking. So, for example, you may learn that the role you would be applying for is responsible for building out a one- and three-year strategic plan for that brand. If you have never done that before, I would add a leader on the marketing team to your list.
After you compile your top five and complete the activity, schedule time with your manager to review the list. Discuss the pros and cons and be ready to share examples of why it would make sense for that person to be your mentor. Remember, a mentorship is a two-way street, so you want to choose someone who will benefit from this relationship. Being proactive in this step shows your commitment to owning your own development.
Another important part of the growth process in your new role is raising a hand and asking to take on more training initiatives. This is a vital step for multiple reasons. It will illustrate your commitment to your development, increase your visibility and networking with additional stakeholders (which is critical when transitioning from the field to the home office) and challenge your ability to increase your organizational and operational effectiveness.
An example might be to ask to be more involved and earlier in the overall planning process for a training event (for instance, a national or regional meeting workshop), instead of just helping facilitate a workshop after it has been created. Volunteer to partner on a product module that needs updating to learn how to effectively work with training suppliers and internal review teams. These are just some examples of valuable skills that may help set you apart from other internal candidates when interviewing for the position.
Finally, ask to shadow a person in the training department who you would be working directly with. This “day in the life” experience will allow that future colleague to see you in action, listen to the questions you ask of them as well as others that you may be partnering with. They in turn may be able to provide you with real world and candid situations. For example, how you might handle a last-minute change in a new hire training class when the presenter doesn’t show up unexpectedly.
The person that you shadow may be included on your interview panel as well down the road, so their feedback about their experience with you may be what sets you apart from others during the debrief. Come to this experience prepared and with a mindset that you are being interviewed for your next role.
In summary, in-house trainers should congratulate field folks with a desire to take that next step and join the internal training department. We often look to these individuals as our future “bench.” It is a big transition, but if they are prepared and ready – perhaps with a mentor and internal training colleague who is an advocate– it’s a huge step to achieving the goal.
And for those looking to grow your skills: be patient, be persistent, ask for constructive feedback and have fun along the way!
Jill Benko is director, multi-brand lead commercial training and development for BioMarin Pharmaceutical. Email Jill at firstname.lastname@example.org.