Does your organisation have a successful training program?

by L&D09 Nov 2016
In a changing workforce dominated by digital transformation, an employee’s ability to learn and continue to develop professionally is crucial to their loyalty to a company or organisation, Erika Trautman told Business 2 Community.

Trautman said that effective job training and professional development are not only prerequisites for long-term advancement, but they’re also highly valuable for an employee’s sense of personal fulfilment.

“The trouble is that most organisations rely on stale and outdated training tactics and then are left wondering why employees aren’t as productive as they could be,” she said.

“However, there is a critical difference between compliance and absorption when it comes to employee training and learning practices.” 

New survey data on the American workplace suggests that many employees are disappointed by their companies’ onboarding and training efforts, and they’re not actually retaining the information they’re required to learn to perform job functions.
 

What this means for organisations
The survey shows that the majority of employees (65%) feel their company could have done a better job of onboarding them.

Nearly three out of four employees (74%) have forgotten some or all of the last mandatory training they completed and more than half of respondents (57%) only completed the company trainings because they were required.

“This means that training leaders are investing significant time, energy and resources in technologies and tools that simply aren’t working anymore,” Trautman said.

To truly educate employees and successfully onboard new team members, Trautman says employers must reimagine the traditional training methods of yesterday.

“And with disengaged employees costing US. businesses upwards of $550bn in lost productivity annually, companies can’t afford not to pay attention,” she said.

Trautman added the other concern with employees’ lack of absorption when it comes to onboarding and training is “the fact that institutional knowledge is walking out the door as younger generations enter the workforce and older employees turn in their keys for retirement”.

“A company might be using the same training materials to onboard younger talent, but those materials haven’t been updated by the tenured employees who have executed the work for years,” she said.

“Without procedures in place to continuously update training materials based on key learnings and knowledge from those executing tasks in a certain role, the management team has few options to ensure new talent is trained properly and set up for success.”
 

What companies can do about it

Trautman said today’s employees are internal brand consumers and must be engaged with the same amount of time, attention, and resources that we devote to our marketing efforts and customer engagement strategies.

“The key is always to build brand advocates, both internally and externally,” she said.

“If you take the time to listen to your employees, you’ll find they want something new.”
Trautman pointed to a Rapt Media survey which showed that 73% of the employees said they have suggestions for their internal communications: one in four want more entertaining features like games and humour, and another one in four want more personalized training content that is actually interesting and relevant to them.

“Successful, innovative training programs have the capacity to build highly engaged and high-performing company cultures through continuous feedback, ongoing employee development, and emotional connectivity through personalization and choice,” she said.

According to Training Magazine’s 2015 industry report, many managers are already adopting new formats and methods of training to both improve employee satisfaction and increase effectiveness.

Companies can be more effective in boosting information retention and providing professional development opportunities to foster internal brand loyalty by allowing employees to choose their preferred way of learning.

Trautman shares a few ways to foster internal brand loyalty through better content, innovation and real connection:
  • Test new techniques. Train a pilot group using dynamic visual content, games, interactivity, and humour, instead of your standard Learning Management System (LMS) training—and solicit employee feedback.
  • Accommodate learning styles. Adapt your most important mandatory trainings to fit multiple learning styles and allow employees to choose. The vast majority of employees (82%) learn better from visual content like video than from static content like PDFs and other documents.
  • Evaluate onboarding. Interview new, longstanding, and former employees about your onboarding processes and implement improvements based on feedback.
“To reach and engage employees through internal communications and training, content must be updated and interesting to the most important brand loyalists: your employees,” Trautman said.
“Impersonal email updates, old-fashioned newsletters, and compulsory LMS exercises are no longer effective because they’re not interesting or user-controlled.”

She added that company content must be “compelling enough to win employee mindshare in an increasingly noisy and distracting landscape”.

“This landscape includes not only the critical messages from your organisation and solicitations from your competitors but also the world of external digital and social content constantly accessible to your employees,” she said.
 

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