All of us learn and absorb information in different ways. Some retain information with repetitive study and quiz taking. Some of us can hear something once and can recall it months later. Most of us are interactive or visual learners. This is the category 93% of Americans (myself included) fall in.
Case in Point:
Years ago, my son came home from school excited to tell me about his health class that day. The school had a guest presenter visit and his topic was how easily people can transmit germs.
My son proceeded to tell me how the instructor introduced himself and then shook hands with a student. He then asked the student to shake the hand of the next student and so on, until all 37 students had shaken hands. The instructor continued his lecture explaining the importance of careful body contact; how easily germs and diseases spread. (I’m sure by now you’ve realized the point of this health class lecture.)
At the end of the lecture the instructor pulled out a black light and held up his hand, revealing a glowing palm. He passed the light around, which illuminated the same glow on every hand down to the last hand-shaking student. The point of the exercise was not missed by the students, and years later my son still recalls this ‘training’.
Imagine training that engages your employees this way.
The 3 P's of Effective Employee Training
P1: Planning (The Who and the What)
The first step to planning effective training is establishing requirements, goals and strategy. Training programs should guide and develop your employees, so they not only meet, but exceed company expectations. Begin by identifying which departments, positions or individuals must become certified to stay compliant. Next, identify specific departments or individuals who will be most likely to benefit the company with informative training. Optimally, the courses or lessons you provide will develop your staff to accomplish not only industry requirements, but specific company goals as well.
Now that you’ve identified compliance requirements, which departments or individuals should/must complete training and set your annual goals, you can prepare the strategy that will lay a foundation for your training program.
P2: Preparation (The When and the Where)
Let’s breakdown the science of a training strategy.
First, the when. Certain industry regulations require specific time frames for training to be completed (see New York’s harassment training requirements), while others just require specific training on an annual basis. If your industry or staff has licensing requirements with exams (HR, Nurses, OSHA and such) place those ‘required by dates’ on a calendar and decide if additional, relevant training could help prepare your staff to pass these exams. (This has the potential to improve employee retention as your staff will feel grateful and appreciate the consideration/recognition.)
If your company is fortunate enough not to have required training, an effective learning program will still greatly benefit your bottom line. To determine areas of improvement, evaluate the gross and net income analytics at the end of your fiscal year. Determine which areas, departments or individuals may be able to improve based on previous performance. (Perhaps your customer service representatives could save more callers if they learned how to diffuse difficult customers or possibly save more on workman’s comp but providing additional safety training). An improvement training program should be designed and scheduled prior to the 1st of the New Year.
Second, the where. Work environments, atmosphere and culture can help you determine the most effective setting for your employee training.
Office environments typically employ individuals that operate at their own pace and schedules throughout the day. Effective training in this scenario will most likely utilize individual online courses, so employees can determine their individual completion timeframe. They will also appreciate you considering their schedules and avoiding disruption.
Warehouses, Contractors and Retail are set up to have their staff engage with not only each other, but with consumers as well. For certain departments, individual training could work best, although most of these industry employees may prefer group training sessions. Especially if pizza is provided.
Remote employees can be difficult to train effectively, but online courses with progress tracking can greatly improve productivity and participation. To encourage training or teamwork, consider offering a gift card or other relevant surprise if all remote employees finish the training by a certain date. This will encourage them to encourage each other and help to form positive remote co-worker relationships.
A forth option is live training. This is best suited for large corporations, seminar events or when mandatory to satisfy requirements (such as the practical compliance training for OSHA forklift operator safety.) This type of training can require a significant investment of research and funds to find and hire qualified instructors. In contractor-based industries there are many reputable equipment companies who will provide hands on equipment training with the purchase of equipment, though the company still must provide written training as per compliance. Additionally, you should be aware that live training will likely involve longer paid workday hours for employee training.
Examine your company culture and environment to determine the most effective setting, which will help narrow down the best type of training. Consider which will be the most conducive, efficient and ultimately the most effective for your employees.
P3: Presentation (The How)
We’ve have now narrowed down the exact aim for your training. You know who requires it and those who will benefit from it. You know what type of training will be best suited for your work culture and budget. You know when required training is due and when you would like to employ informative programs. You also know which setting will best suit your company culture, albeit the classroom, online or presentation. Let’s talk about how to initiate.
How do I know if the employee training will be effective?
No matter the type of training you’ve decided will work best for your company, the training itself must effectively impact your employees. If you remember the story above about the Health Class, you’ll recall the students involved remembered the lesson and took the information to heart. The most effective type of training is 1. Retainable 2. Interactive. 3. Rewarding.
Retention: Visual aids, real life situations and interactive Q&A effectively engage participation. Drawn out lectures on the other hand, do not. Training sessions or courses should stay under an hour, or with an allowed break if state regulations require additional time requirements. Seminars follow their own rules, as these can be even be week-long events. These longer events, such as the upcoming Las Vegas SHRM event or Digital Marketing Conference, can highly benefit HR Professionals or Marketing Directors stay up to date with market trends and latest tactics if you are a larger company with these needs. For normal employee training courses, the completion timeframe should be reasonable. If you keep attention, you keep retention.
Interaction: Ensure your employees are able to engage with the training. Engagement can be satisfied many ways, from Q&A, short quizzes, teamwork, a practical test (such as on machines, equipment or customer conversation), storytelling or visual aids.
Rewarding: Satisfying this part of effective training doesn’t require another monetary contribution from the company. Completion certificates themselves offer recognition when presented in a meaningful way. Even businesses on a tight budget have been known to become creative with reward systems, including ringing a bell, allowing an additional 15 minutes for their lunch break, framing the certificate, celebrating with an announcement or even pausing during a company meeting for a congratulations and a handshake… just be sure to wash your hands first.
When you’re ready to employ effective employee training, we hope this guide provides a starting point to the process. If you’re stuck on one of these 3 P’s, tryHRIS provides a Training Advisor consultation and a custom-built company training program when you purchase any course.
Helping you stay compliant,