Training employees is a complex undertaking. First, a business must define the subjects and activities that need to covered. Then it’s time to figure out how to convey the material in a manner that will hold workers’ attention. And lastly, the company must overcome the many unforeseen practical obstacles that can emerge on the road to helping a group successfully learn a new skill.
Not every business manages to tick all the boxes. Here are three ways your company can ensure that workers walk away from training sessions with new knowledge, as well as a more positive view of their employer.
Get the basics right
The studies that have been done about employee training programs in recent years suggest implementation mistakes are common. One of the highest-profile reports was published in 2015 by communications technology firm West Corporation, which found that a third of full-time workers perceive the training provided to them as being ineffectual. As a result, businesses should carefully think about even the seemingly most obvious details and ensure that they reflect employee needs.
That starts with the training plan. Christo Popov, the founder of London-based consulting firm FastTrack, says that a company must clearly articulate the skills it wishes to instill in workers and how the task should be approached. This makes it easier to measure the effectiveness of training, which is essential for realizing a return on investment.
Another seemingly obvious factor that can require extra consideration is the way orientation is delivered. One might expect that millennials, for example, would have a generally positive attitude towards digital training. But research by Activia Training shows that this is often not the case. The company found that just 15 percent of workers between the ages of 18 to 25 favor e-learning, while 55 percent prefer a more traditional classroom-type setting.
Taking advantage of the available tools
Given how difficult it can be to effectively implement a training program, businesses should take advantage of the tools available at their disposal for easing the task. There’s no shortage of options. In fact, the software industry has an entire category of products dedicated to automating employee learning initiatives.
They can be split into two main groups. The first consists of so-called “learning management systems” such as DigitalChalk, LearnUpon and Docebo. These platforms provide a central hub for everything from managing educational content to course delivery. Being able to handle everything in one place can be major a convenience for businesses such as retailers that have to train new personnel on a regular basis.
The second product group includes more specialized services that each focus on one particular niche. The most notable of the bunch is Kahoot. Originally built for K-12 students, the platform provides the ability to administer multi-choice quizzes via a gamified mobile app. It’s designed to let companies break up training sessions into bite-sized chunks and add a competitive element to the experience. When applied correctly, this combination can go a long way towards making it easier for workers internalize the material.
Going the extra mile
After a business finds the right training strategy, it doesn’t have to stop at merely teaching employees the core skills they require to do their jobs. Some companies are also mixing in other, more creative, learning opportunities to help personnel better apply those skills.
One emerging approach is to provide customer service training for back-office workers who don’t normally interact with buyers. The idea is that if an employee is more familiar with client needs and how they’re helping to fulfill them, they’ll view their responsibilities in a different light. This in turn can improve productivity. Personnel at a product testing facility, for example, might pay closer attention to details if their company can convincingly articulate what impact they make on the lives of consumers.
A concept with potentially even broader applications is resilience training. Companies are teaching employees how to cope with stress, failure and other work-related adversities, a practice that is proving to be tremendously beneficial. The American Heart Association recently surveyed 1,000 working adults who had participated in resilience training and found that 73 percent saw their quality of life improve. About half also reported to having more energy. This can make a big difference around the office, particularly when it comes to productivity.