Train your Colleague

2013- In 2010 the concept of Train your Colleague was born. It started with the conclusion that in most organizations there is (almost) always someone who can help you with (little) practical problems such as  difficulties with Outlook, Word or Prezi presentation. The idea was simple, train your colleague’s about a subject you know (just a little bit) more about. The project is ‘self-regulating, which means in this context that there are no minimum requirements about the content of the training. If the training is too difficult or too easy no one will attend. Because a training takes just one hour and is given by a colleague so you probably don’t have to travel far , the worst that can happen is that you more or less waste an hour of your time.

2010– In 2010 the founders came to the above mentioned conclusion that there is almost always a colleague who can help you with little problems. They got excited about this idea and started brainstorming about how this knowledge could be used in organizations. This brainstorm sessions mostly took place in their own free time, which was made easier because they worked close to each other, a regular ‘Monday brainstorm Lunch/coffee break’ was easily arranged. Because of this ‘approach’ they remained more or less below the departments radar, so no formal approval was required.

As it was still their own initiative, they lacked funds to hire rooms, do some marketing or build a website. Instead they used their (broad) networks to arrange empty meeting rooms and asked colleagues if they would give a training (or attend one). These first trainings were mostly about social media, and attracted about 90 people, divided over approximately 9 trainers.

The year after this success they received inquiries from other organizations about the project. For example, the Uni of Utrecht was interested, but lacked an intranet to manage the applications. Out of this technical problem rose the idea of developing a central application system. However, they still had no official funding or budget. With nothing to lose they decided to be bold and just post their request for a ‘socially engaged website developer’ on the internet. Within two weeks they had found one in the form of LimoenGroen. Soon after that the website(, with an online application module was a fact. In 2011 about 200 people received training via Train Your Colleague. More and more organizations joined, leading to ‘1 week, 1000 trainers and 10.000 colleagues trained’ in 2013.


The Train Your Collegue Week resulted in the training of approximately 10.000 people. Besides that, it is possible that the program had a more profound effect on the organization. First of all, the opportunity to train your colleagues requires for most public officials rather different competences. Some people showed unexpected quality’s, bringing their personal/private interests to the work floor.

Second, the training should bring employees together with the same interests or difficulties, enhancing relations in the organization. The fact that anyone could be a trainer further enhances the positive effect on relations, take for example the secretary who trains her superior. This reduces barriers in the organization, of which some participating organization officials even claim to have a positive effect on the (intern) mobility of employees. On a practical level it is expected that these new connections can help reducing the workload of supporting staff – like ICT helpdesks for example- because employee’s now know who to turn to.

Third, the trainings may work inspiring. Both for those who want to know more about the subject, or for those who want to give a training of their own the next time. The problems with these possible outcomes is that they are difficult to measure because of their ‘informal nature’. It is hard to link a more efficient organization performance to the fact that colleague’s now dare to ask colleague’s to help them. Regarding the overwhelming participation of organizations and employee’s, the scientific underpinning of the concept isn’t really an issue for the organizers. The costs of participating are so low that even a slight improvement of whatever nature could make it worthwhile.
Train your colleague has been evaluated buy TNO (see annex).


Date publication: 2013

Topic: Dynamisch managen & Leiderschap, Externe samenwerking, Flexibel organiseren,  Talentontwikkeling

Sector: Public

Sourcetype: Multimedia

Organisation: Overheid breed


Contact: Anne-Claire Recht