Training and developing people is one of the most important responsibilities managers have, and training volunteers is no different.
It is the organization’s responsibility to make sure volunteers have the tools and training to carry out required tasks confidently.
These training experiences are what separates great organizations from the rest.
4 Reasons to Train Volunteers
1. Consistency in Practice
Training is the foundation for creating a culture of quality – something all organizations should strive for.
Volunteers who have the same learning experience will perform tasks and respond to the work environment in a similar way. When you train your volunteers, you should use the same curriculum and training technique. This will result in everyone doing things the same way – which ensures consistency in practice.
For instance, when creating training for children’s workers, share the same tips, tools and expectations for interacting with children as well as their parents. This will ensure that all workers know how to respond to that disruptive child or the demanding parent.
2. Confidence in Performing Job Duties
Self-confidence comes from an internal trust and belief in one’s ability to do things well and that assurance is developed through training and skill practice.
Developing volunteer confidence is an expected outcome of the training experience and improves the satisfaction that comes with contributing to the success of an organization.
For example, a children’s worker who is prepared for dealing with an angry parent will be able to address their issues with confidence and will be self-assurance that they are performing their job in the manner the organization would expect.
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, they can easily be assessed on how well they are following a detailed telephone script which instructs them for how to answer caller questions.
4. Volunteers Feel Valued
Volunteers appreciate the time and effort that goes into an organized and effective training experience. Structured training not only helps to prepare volunteers for job responsibilities – but also makes them feel valued.
A great training experience is creating by proactively sharing information that will help the volunteer in their role.
Determine training points that help the volunteer understand the culture of the organization, appropriate people interactions, customer response, safety and equipment usage, and necessary 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 in a group setting or one-on-one. Just make sure the volunteer is given the opportunity to ask questions for 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 volunteer training program!
What tips do you have for training volunteers?