Training and developing people is one of the most important responsibilities managers have, and training volunteers is no different.
When people have job tasks to perform it is the organization’s responsibility to make sure that person has the tools and training to carry out required tasks confidently.
4 Reasons to Train Your Volunteers
1. Consistency in Practice
Training volunteers with the same curriculum and technique creates consistency in practice. Volunteers who have the same learning experience will perform tasks and respond to the work environment in a similar way. Training is the foundation for creating a culture of quality – something all organizations should strive for.
2. Confidence in Performing Job Duties
Self confidence comes from an internal trust and belief in one’s ability to do things well and the assurance is developed through training and skill practice. Developing the confidence in volunteers is a basic expected outcome of the training experience and adds to the satisfaction that comes with contributing to the success of an organization.
3. Assessment of Performance
Another advantage of training is the opportunity to assess a volunteer’s performance against training objectives. It is difficult to say if someone is or isn’t doing a good job if there isn’t anything to compare their performance to. For example, if a volunteer is asked to help in the office by answering the telephone, how can someone assess if they are doing a good job if they have not been given a detailed telephone script which would help them know how to answer caller questions?
4. Makes Volunteers Feel Valued
Training volunteers not only helps to prepare them for job responsibilities but also makes them feel valued because of the energy and focus the organization puts toward the training process. Volunteers that experience an organized and effective training experience appreciate the time and effort that goes into the process.
Volunteers should be trained on the culture of the organization, appropriate people interactions, customer response, safety, equipment, chemical, supplies or materials. Anything that the volunteer needs to know to safely and effectively perform job responsibilities is an important training point.
Training can be done through an organizational orientation process followed by an orientation that is specific to the area they will be performing job tasks. The training can be group or one-on-one in order to give the volunteer the opportunity to ask questions of clarity. A detailed volunteer job description also helps to reinforce training points.
Developing volunteer training programs is a critical aspect of managing volunteers and should be coordinated through the volunteer office.
Volunteers donate countless hours to help organizations fulfill their mission. That should be enough reason to invest the time into developing a comprehensive training program!
What tips do you have for training volunteers?
photo by: James F Clay