As 2017 comes to a close, now is a good time to reflect on achievements, areas of opportunity, and goals for the New Year. But simply setting goals is not enough. As Antoine De Saint states “a goal without a plan is just a wish.” This requires us to put together a detailed plan for our goals to ensure we are successful. This plan should include a list of resources needed to achieve each goal. Since your employees are one of your most important resources, why not invest in their training and development to help reach your objectives?
Realize the Value of Training and Development
Whether your goals consist of increased revenue, decreased costs, or enhanced productivity, training your employees can help achieve your desired results. Research demonstrates that training is critical to retaining employees, engaging employees, and improving productivity and profits. To enable and empower your employees to achieve the organization’s goals, you must provide them with the proper tools and resources to excel in their roles. The right training program can provide your employees with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to succeed.
Create a Learning Environment in your Organization
Creating a learning environment means that trainings are supported through on-going reinforcement in the form of on-the-job learning, daily pre-shift conversations, regular feedback, and consistent progress check-ins. Everyone in the organization must be committed to making learning a part of the everyday work environment. It starts with making sure the training program is relevant, engaging, and effective. Here are some tips:
- Create Inspiring Classroom Trainings: While classroom trainings provide a valuable opportunity to share information and practice new skills, many employees dread going to trainings because they are often uninspiring. The average adult has an attention span of 8 seconds, thus there is a need to capture and keep their focus on the topic at hand. The key to classroom learning is to engage participants in different methods including discussion, role-plays, and games that stimulate thinking. Classroom trainings should provide participants with an opportunity to practice the desired skill or behavior in a supportive environment. Keep training sessions short (2 hours or less), provide regular breaks, and include some simple physical activities, such as having participants stand up and stretch or move to another table. Less lecturing and more doing is a great philosophy when it comes to creating inspiring classroom trainings.
- Implement Engaging E-learning Programs: In today’s highly connected world, employees desire access to training beyond the classroom. E-learning programs provide an effective tool for regular and consistent trainings. Employees are able to learn at their own pace and revisit topics as needed. The key to effective e-learning programs is to ensure the content is engaging and memorable. Increased interactivity features, such as gamification and augmented reality, provide employees with an engaging, hands-on approach, which enhances content retention.
- Support Social Learning: Learning must go beyond structured trainings and become a part of the daily routine, as this is where new habits are formed. Supervisors and managers are critical to ensuring everyday learning is taking place. Useful practices include implementing brief trainings in each pre-shift meeting to reinforce desired behaviors, engage in regular feedback that gives the employee a chance to understand what they are doing well and how they can improve, ask employees to help solve a problem, or assign employees to be a part of a task force focused on a specific goal. It is also useful to connect employees with mentors to provide guidance and develop new skills. Other ways to foster social learning
- include hosting learning events, such as seminars or discussion forums to stimulate thinking and generate ideas. Consider implementing an internal social media platform where employees and leaders can collaborate and recognize those that are invested in learning and development.
As with any goal, it is important to remain committed. Realize that one training program or e-learning is not going to be sufficient to enlist change. New habits and behaviors take time to develop and must be reinforced on a consistent basis. The value is in creating an environment where employees become excited to learn and engaged in improving the business. Provide employees with a multi-faceted, multi-sensory learning experience to help them learn and grow. Stay the course and you will reap the benefits of having a well-trained and engaged workforce.
A New Year is a time for a fresh start—a chance to make changes that will set up your organization for continued success. At SGEi, we train and transform the world’s leading sales and service organizations. If you are interested in a partner to help develop and implement your customized training program, connect with us. Happy Holidays and all the best for 2018!