There’s no question the business world moves at a rapid pace. Technology becomes obsolete in short periods, consumer trends evolve, and industry standards change. Providing excellent customer service and delivering beyond expectations is every business’ goal. Therefore, it’s critical your company provide its new hires with a great onboarding experience. This necessarily includes effective training. The problem is the majority of training models are either insufficient, boring, or, laden with complexity. Just last week, the Internal Revenue Service (an entity not revered for its customer service), admitted, “the complexity of the tax code makes the tax law too difficult for taxpayers to understand and for the IRS to administer.” There’s no secret about why this is, and, demonstrates why your business should periodically reevaluate its training process. It should not be complex, over-extensive, uninteresting, non-inclusive, or pigeoned-holed.
Is Your Employee Training like the IRS and Tax Code?
What’s so frustrating about many training programs is they are designed and facilitated or taught as one-size-fits all. We know people learn in different ways, yet, still revert to this inadequate model. The reason is likely due to the fact it’s what we experienced in school. Years of the same approach became so familiar, it’s integrated unconsciously. Moreover, we prefer to proactively prevent chaos from entering and running amok in organizations, so day-to-day operations run smoothly.
In many organizations, the process of hiring and training employees can be time-consuming and expensive. However, if the right employee is selected and the training is adequate, the upfront costs are justifiable. Unfortunately, studies show that it’s rare for an employee to efficiently transfer everything they’ve learned from training to the real world. As a business owner or manager, this is troublesome. —Business.com
Of course, the end-results are what training is predicated. You want your new hires to learn about the company functions away from the front lines. That’s perfectly understandable and reasonable, but, it can lead to being counterproductive. In other words, if the training isn’t engaging and memorable, it’s worthless because nothing is being learned.
Ways to Improve Employee Training
Simply put, when training offers opportunity to develop new skills and expand on existing talents, it becomes worthwhile to new employees. It’s also important to keep in mind that millennials are the largest demographic in the workforce today (which means you’re training more digital natives over digital immigrants.) Here are some helpful ways to improve employee training:
- Bring it into a nutshell. Wrap the training materials and message into a nutshell so it’s easy to learn and remember. Even if the processes are complex, bite-sized segments will be far more useful than laying out all there is to know. The point is to keep the end-goal in-mind and be clear about what’s truly important.
- Start small and stay small. If possible, your training should start small and stay small. Meaning you ought to be proactive, guarding against obsolescence. Skills learned today may well be rendered out-of-date in a very short time.
- Make it interactive and engaging. Simulations and mock scenarios are great ways to introduce what can be expected. Role playing is a wonderful tool to use, not only because it’s a way to practice, it can also be a fun experience. Participation, by its very nature, is engaging and it can alert you to where improvement is needed.
- Provide flexibility to maximize results. If possible, try to accommodate your new hires with different training formats. For instance, it’s not uncommon for millennials to work alongside baby boomers. Some will prefer learning through devices, while others will opt for a classroom setting.
- Consider implementing cross-department training. This methodology is a way to get people with one set of skills to think outside the box and it’s great for making a business function more cohesively as a team.
What are some ways you’ve improved your employee training? Is your approach innovative and produces great results? Or, have you experienced one or more bad employee training sessions or programs and seen the problems firsthand?