According to a research by CompTIA, 58% of employees said that professional development contributes to job satisfaction and this percentage grew even higher for Generation X and Millennials employees. In a world that is ever-changing, on-going learning is no longer optional but a necessity.
As a manager, how can you get your employees to love training? Here are 7 ways to get started:
1.Choose the right format
Most of us, at some point of time, have been to workshops or training programmes where we sit through a full day of lectures and struggle to stay awake. Lecture-based training are boring, because they only trigger one part of the brain- listening. It is easy to be bored when your learners are sitting and not actively engaging with the learning content. Before sending employees for training, managers need to consider what is being learnt and using tailored content to support employees’ learning. People learn in different ways; some of us are visual learners, others can be kinaesthetic learners or a combination of various learning styles. Training formats to consider may include podcasts, online simulators, games to vary the styles and methods of receiving and storing information. The important thing to remember is not to approach training with a “one size fits all” mentality.
Knowing “What’s in it for me?” will help employees connect the dots on how training will improve their work performance and give greater meaning to their job roles. This will create deeper engagement levels with the training they receive. Many companies force their employees to go for training without employees understanding why they are there. Draw their interests by showing your employees the benefits they will get from attending the training. Furthermore, a relevant and interesting topic will motivate learners to pay attention and retain learning.
3.Sharing what you have learnt
If the purpose of training is to encourage as many people to learn as possible, then sharing is the way to go. When employees are tasked to share what they have learnt from a training course or workshop, they have an outlet to demonstrate what they have learnt. “While we teach, we learn” said the Roman philosopher Seneca. In sharing sessions, the learners may contribute their questions and experiences and help the sharer learn. In a role reversal, the sharer may also force learners to rethink certain assumptions. When employees engage in reciprocal learning, everyone is in a win-win situation.
4. Get managerial support
Manager support and input has an impact on how employees view the importance of training. If managers actively promote training as an important tool for work performance, they indirectly influence the effectiveness of training programmes. If employees are not clear on how training programmes can make an impact on their work, take time to talk to them before and after the programme to find out their perceptions of the training and their feedback of how to put their learning into practice. When managers model behaviour that reinforces learning and training at work, employees are more likely to step up and get into the spirit of learning.
5. Identify employee strengths
Much like how a personal trainer at the gymnasium would design a personalised training plan for their clients, managers need to identify the strengths of their employees and capitalise on ways to build on them. When training is targeted on developing the strengths of the employees, employees are more motivated to attend training and apply content learnt for better productivity at work. Even after training has ended, employees who are aware of their strengths will look for ways to further harness their skills in other learning platforms, which keeps their love for learning growing.
6. Make training interactive
Training need not be boring or dull to be effective. There is a need to integrate learner engagement into any training programme for it to be effective. Spice up training with interactive components such as videos, gamification and learning games. These examples provide employees with the opportunities to engage with the content and keeps training programmes fresh and interesting. Managers may also consider alternative locations such as hotel seminar rooms or fun off-site locations to allow space for employees to move around for games and other activities.
Here is a useful list of activities that make training interactive:
7. Offer bite-sized learning
Bite sized learning is when content is broken down into smaller segments that makes it easier for learners to absorb. For instance, rather than getting employees to attend a 2 day face to face workshop, the training programme is divided into several chunks of content of 10 minutes each and learners may access the information at different intervals. In the modern world, employees are overwhelmed with a sea of information from various devices and social media platforms. They prefer well-designed mini-courses that will allow them to pick up a new skill or learn a “how-to” work issue that can be accessed 24/7 and gives them a feeling of gradual progress. Content such as podcasts, infographics and short videos are the more popular ways to learn new knowledge. Making learning on-demand also means that employees are in control of what they want to learn and they have a greater sense of accountability in their career development.