How to Clean Up the Mess in Your Employee Training Program
Smith Willas is a freelance writer, blogger, and digital media journalist. He has a management degre
There’s nothing new or unfamiliar about employee training, but you might think there is from the way that some enterprises approach it. Employee training programs are all too often neglected and treated as insignificant, but they actually punch above their weight.
- You’re onboarding a new employee who’s joining your company
- You’ve upgraded your business software
- You’ve adopted new digital tools
- You’ve promoted an employee to a new role
- An employee moved sideways to work in a different department
These are all cases when you need effective and relevant employee training programs. The trouble is that all too many of them are, frankly, a mess. Training is too long or too short
; it’s not interesting enough, not relevant enough, or not delivered in the right way; it’s full of too much information, or missing vital information. Sometimes, it can even be
all of these things at different times.
When you skimp on employee training, you get confused and frustrated employees who don’t know how to complete their responsibilities correctly. You’ll probably also end up with harassed and overstretched workers who are fed up with covering the gaps left by your untrained employee(s), and a commensurate drop in employee productivity and
Even one employee without sufficient training can have a deleterious impact across the entire enterprise.
If this sounds familiar, it’s time to clean up the mess in your employee training program with these tips.
1. Set clear goals
This is a prerequisite for every successful endeavor, including employee training programs. What do you want to achieve with this training program? Are you aiming to onboard a new employee to your
company culture or to teach someone how to use a new tool? When you know what specific skills and techniques your employees need to gain, you’ll be better placed to design an appropriate training program.
2. Personalize it
Personalization is all the rage
nowadays, so you can’t get away
with a one-size-fits-all training program. Develop programs that can be easily tweaked according to each employee’s learning style, attention span, and need for support. The right employee training platforms help you to offer various learning media, like video, audio, text, etc. as well as letting the employee speed up or slow down the pace of training and request extra prompts and guidance when it’s needed.
3. Support continual learning
Numerous studies have revealed that most people progressively forget 50-80%
of the new material that they learn each day after the lesson. By the time 1 month has passed, most students only remember 2-3% of what they learned.
This learning curve shows that it’s much more effective to impart information in small bites over a longer period of time than to try to cram it all into an intensive training session. Also called microlearning
, this approach relies on teaching each step as it becomes relevant, instead of learning it all in one go and then, probably, forgetting most of it before you need to use it. Continual learning makes it much less likely that you’ll be faced with employees who forget crucial steps shortly after their training ends.
4. Contextualize the learning
All too many employee training programs isolate the training sessions from the actual work experience. This leaves employees feeling unsure of themselves the first time that they use the “real” collaboration app or business tools, slowing down their integration into the workforce and holding back their teammates on projects.
It’s preferable to contextualize their learning process within the actual program that they’ll be using, or to offer real-life problems for them to work out how to solve. In a similar vein, trouble-shooting prompts that pop up within the program are much more useful than referring to a separate knowledge base.
5. Digitize your training program
It’s way beyond time to unhook
your employee training programs from
the analog world. Hopefully this is old news, but there are still enterprises
that assign a mentor to train each employee, or even hold traditional frontal training lectures, instead of providing a digitized training program that allows everyone to progress at their own pace.
One on one mentoring tends to frustrate the mentor, who has to sacrifice their valuable work time to carry out training. There’s also the chance that your mentor might not know all the answers or be the expert in the new employee’s role.
6. Make it engaging
You might think that this is work, not play, so it’s not meant to be fun. The fact is that we all learn better when we’re engaged, interested, and enjoying ourselves, so it’s worth your while to upgrade your training programs accordingly.
Introducing gamification, competition, and problem-based learning, where the trainee has to work through solving a problem, all go a long way to making your training program more appealing and less off-putting.
7. Ask for feedback
Finally, if you really need to clear up a serious mess in your training program, the fastest way to do so is to ask trainees and employees what’s wrong with it. Request feedback even before you see signs of disconnect within your training and development programs, so that you can tweak your training medium, platform, style, structure, and more for maximum impact.
Focused, effective training programs are the foundation of your business
Effective employee training is the difference between a successful business driven by dedicated employees, and a broken enterprise that’s limping along.
By setting clear goals, providing personalized, digitalized, and contextualized learning that’s broken up into easily digestible pieces, asking for feedback on a regular basis, and making training fun, you’ll be able to replace your scattered employee training and development programs with engaging, focused learning that makes your enterprise
into a powerhouse.
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