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Is Your Training in Vain?

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Providing effective training programs for your employees does more than increase knowledge and productivity. It demonstrates that you are invested in your workers and keeps them involved in your business and its future development. Whether you're setting up an instruction program for new or experienced employees, it should be clearly aligned with your company's objectives and have recognizable, long-term benefits. Here are ways to ensure that your training is relevant, valuable, and ultimately profitable.

Keep it Compelling
The danger when you have repeating instruction programs is that things become rote for employees. It's essential to continually update existing training with current information to keep them fresh. The challenge is to keep things compelling and relevant. A good example is the Borland Software Corp. enlisting e-learning experts at QB International to create a unique training program for highly competitive salespeople. Combining simple games like tic-tac-toe with timed questions and tests, they were able to captivate and motivate the salespeople while they learned.

Enlist Management
Training programs require a willing to learn mindset throughout all levels of an organization. W. Edwards Deming touched on the importance of training for businesses when he said "Learning is not compulsory...neither is survival." Without management rallying firmly behind learning programs, workers wonder why they should participate. Be sure that supervisors understand their roles and they view the initiative as an investment and not merely an expense. Managers should clarify that the training session is not a waste of time and is directly connected to an employee's job.

Make it Measurable
The reality of training programs is that they require budgets and without measurable results you will have a harder time providing future training programs. Quantify results and continually evaluate the effectiveness of your programs and whether or not you are getting a good return on your investment. The key is to measure retention at different intervals to ensure that long-term learning is happening. This way, you will be able to demonstrate to superiors that your programs worked and continue to work.

Allow for Interaction
These days, PowerPoint presentations seem to be the favored instruction format, but the drawback of audiovisual programs is that they often do not involve asking questions afterwards. When you are training using audiovisual materials, always allot time for questions. Orientations and lectures are good formats for interacting with participants, but the best may be apprenticeships. Under apprenticeship programs, workers receive individualized attention and can be encouraged to question and interact directly with their mentors.

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