To bring maximum value to your organization you need eager and passionate employees. But it’s not so easy to train smart young people who have the latest tech on their side, instantly connected to informed online communities with plenty of tricks up their sleeves.
So how do you motivate and stimulate millennials who always want to feel included, an active part of the team, learning fast without being talked down or preached?
According to ANA/McKinsey, 89% of marketers do know that training and skills development is a huge factor in business success. Why is it then that training budgets are never on top of the list, and are the first ones to be cut when times get rough?
Not everyone understands the reasons why training is so important. But the reality is this: employees have changed over the last few decades. Today people want to buy products and services with a cause, and they want to be in a job that has real meaning for them.
Contemporary employees feel valued and genuinely cared for only when you take professional development seriously. No one wants to be stuck in a rut, doing the same thing for years. The more capable the employee, the more thirsty they are for new knowledge.
Training and planning for subsequent further growth builds loyalty and results in more productivity. People also need change in perspective from time to time. Increases in responsibilities often motivate them to reach their maximum potential, but those are impossible without training.
Ongoing training that brings teams together may also be good for overall morale in the company. Growth and training opportunities are unchanging factors that determine workplace happiness. Engaged and efficient employees are not only productive but also happy, because they feel secure not only in the present but in the future. Support and mentoring helps them enjoy that feeling of connectedness, and companies with great team spirit usually have better reputations, with more satisfied customers. Training events may also bring different company levels together regularly in informal settings – to discuss questions openly at a round table. It helps employees feel one with the organization when they know they can ask the CEO a tricky question, and actually get an answer.
There are different aspects to making sure your business is sustainable for years to come. Training employees is a very big part of that, so here are our 10 reasons to train your employees:
- Technologies and business markets change – employee skills have to stay up-to-date.
- Training increases loyalty and job satisfaction.
- Training programs help increase productivity and profits.
- Training builds a stronger company culture and reputation.
- Training affords genuine motivation with development and growth opportunities.
- Training breaks the monotony of everyday workflow.
- It keeps staff challenged, engaged and on their toes, in the best way.
- It creates a positive prospect for the future.
- Training staff can make the business more attractive to prospective buyers.
- Accompanied by pizza and fizzy drinks, training is a fun, stress-free experience.
Improving the range and level of skills can be done in many different ways. Personalizing training programs is the key to success. When employees feel a personal connection to their up-skilling, they are more likely to give their all. It may be a good idea to also widen their skills beyond their narrow area of expertise to help every part of the company function as a whole.
The form training can take can be anything from the more traditional refresher courses, on- or offline seminars, web conferencing, online tutorials, forum discussions, to the more contemporary on-demand personalized mentoring systems and teaching staff learning and thinking techniques. To help people learn faster and more effectively, many companies are broadening their teams’ knowledge of how the brain works and what they can do to make it more productive.
But before you decide whether to train in house using your best talent or outsource to training providers, you need to get to know your employees. Personally. Real value comes from real training. When things are done in red tape fashion, just to tick off the right box, they rarely change the situation. To avoid this, follow our 6 tips on how to train your employees effectively:
- Before you assume your employees really don’t know something, make sure that’s really the case. New skills will only stick if they are really useful. It’s a good idea to spend time to learn about the gaps in their learning because there is nothing more horrific than wasting hours and hours on stuff you already know. Everyone has an encyclopedia in their pockets nowadays (Google) that gives straightforward answers (and not lengthy eccentric allegories that many outspoken execs like to present) and works like the human brain.
- Reach a profound understanding of where each employee is and where they need to/want to be. You can either test them, observe them (if you work with them directly), ask them questions about what they want to learn, what positions they see themselves in in 5/10 years – and use that information to build customized training programs.
- Notice how different people tick, and how they learn. The aspect of how to learn is just as important as what to learn. Some people like to be “fed” solutions at an intensive seminar; others excel when you push them off the edge (previously having pointed at good sources to look for answers) and let them fly free. People who need room to breathe are better off watching video tutorials on their own schedule; those who need structure and order may benefit more from person-to-person classroom training with clear scheduling and reporting. This will take time and effort, but it’s worth it in the end.
- Keep an eye on the latest training techniques. The newest trend based on data analysis is adaptive learning and personalized training, where metrics and machine learning algorithms help you understand which employee is in need of which training module. Using technology it is now easier to execute and plan personalization. Once you know what employees know and don’t know, what they need to know and what skills are absolutely irrelevant to them, you can start building programs that really work.
- Make sure you exercise control and track completion and progress of your training efforts. This doesn’t need to be an extensive test – just a few simple questions to see if staff have done their homework. If the training program failed or was completed only partially, make sure you know what went wrong. Feedback is extremely important so you can avoid mistakes in the future.
- Make a big deal out of training. Record training milestones in your employees’ performance and development plan. Incentivize employees with competitions and prizes, and remember to have an informal party to celebrate.
The training industry has changed dramatically over the last few decades. No longer do you expect to start with a blank slate every time you welcome a fresh-out-the-uni employee into your offices. Even the youngest employees are capable, full of energy, eager to learn and also able to learn both with guidance and on their own. They have the latest tech that can be instantly applied to help them grow.
People are also more flexible than ever, ready to work in marketing with a physics degree, or switch from tech to managerial positions mid-career. Itransition’s software developers refresh their skill sets all the time, successfully passing certification programs from worldwide tech leaders. They know that it’s in their best interest to pass exams for the latest standards as soon as they are available. The ability to learn fast and be flexible as well as the current status of programmers’ expertise is more important than a degree that ages as soon as you get it if you relax a bit too much and take it easy. Spending quality time to train employees is bound to translate in better value, higher ROI and more customer satisfaction.
What are your training secrets? Do you think we have covered all the main points of the issue, or do you have something to add? Please share your thoughts and comments with us below.