All animals may be equal, but it’s not true of all employee training programs. Some enterprises do an excellent job of onboarding new talent, ensuring that their existing workers fulfill their potential, and helping all their employees keep on learning new skills and advancing professionally. These are the enterprises that enjoy a high level of employee engagement and have no difficulty recruiting top talent when it’s time to fill an empty position.
On the other hand, some enterprises struggle with employee onboarding, have a high churn rate among workers, and wonder why they aren’t attracting the best new hires. For these companies, the chances are good that it’s not the business; it’s their employee training program.
Running a successful employee training program isn’t something that you can stumble upon by chance or just happen to put together. It requires thought, consideration, and careful planning, along with an awareness of these 5 habits of highly effective employee training programs. It’s always a good idea to seek out managed training services to get the most out of your employees’ training.
Habit 1: Building In Gamification
It’s human nature to invest more time and energy into something that we enjoy than something that we find uninteresting. You want your employees to approach your training program with enthusiasm, give it their full attention, and complete the entire program, so you need to make it worth their while. Effective employee training programs are gamified to be enjoyable as well as educational, with appealing visuals and advanced graphics.
They offer video game-style adventure challenges for employees to solve independently, and incentivize participants to resolve these tasks by awarding them points as they progress, which can be exchanged for rewards. Adding a leaderboard to encourage friendly competition is the final touch.
Habit 2 – Supporting Independent Learning
Traditional employee training programs assign a mentor to explain things to each employee and show them around the enterprise. Effective modern employee training programs go digital so that new talent doesn’t have to rely on a mentor. A mentor might not know the correct answers, and probably has other tasks to do that are more urgent than guiding new hires.
Providing digital employee training through embedded help widgets, an accessible self-serve knowledge base, and shortcuts to searchable training materials makes it much easier for a potentially shy new employee to ask for help without anyone else’s knowledge. This also reduces the risk that they’ll stay quiet rather than have anyone think they aren’t capable.
Habit 3 – Customizing Training Programs
Each individual learns best at a different pace and in a different style to the next one, but traditional employee training programs force everyone to learn in the same way and at the same speed. It’s far more effective to offer training materials in a range of media, including audio and video files as well as text documents, so that employees can choose the format that matches their preferred learning style. On-demand learning also means that they can speed up, slow down, or repeat sections of the program at will, according to their needs.
Habit 4 – Enabling Active Learning
There are two main types of learning: active learning, and passive learning. Passive learning is the type that most of us are familiar with from school, when you sat in a classroom and a teacher taught you how to calculate the angles of a triangle. It probably took several explanations and repetitions before you understood how to do it yourself.
Active learning, however, is when you learn through doing, like when you learned how to hit a ball in baseball. Chances are good that you picked up baseball a lot faster than geometry, and that’s partly because you were an active learner.
Effective 21st-century employee training programs try to be more like teaching baseball and less like teaching geometry by guiding employees to learn by experimenting with real tasks on the same software and apps that they’ll be using in their regular workflows.
Habit 5 – Encouraging Frequent Review
It’s an unfortunate truth that we all forget new material almost faster than we can learn it. The German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus discovered that just one day after learning new material, students only remember around 25% of it. He called this the “forgetting curve.” However, Ebbinghaus also found that when you review the new material, you can significantly increase retention and slow the process of forgetting.
Effective training programs learn a lesson from Ebbinghaus’ research. Breaking up the material into bite-sized chunks makes it both easier to learn, and encourages more frequent review which flattens the forgetting curve. Embedding reminders and prompts to return to previous material also raises the chances of employees reviewing topics that they’ve already covered.
Learn A Lesson From The Most Effective Employee Training Programs
Building an effective employee training program that educates your employees about corporate culture and makes them feel confident about the requirements and responsibilities of their job doesn’t have to be a matter of trial and error.
There’s also no secret recipe that’s kept hidden from your enterprise. The habits of highly effective employee training programs, including gamification, personalization, enabling independent, active learning, and encouraging frequent review, are all within your grasp. It’s time for you too to incorporate these practices and raise your game when onboarding new hires.
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