How important is employee training and career development at your company?
Whether you’re in the corporate industry, creative world or even the medical field, you know from experience that industry changes can (and do) come with little to no warning. Algorithms change, technology updates and trends shift. Keeping your team up-to-date on these constant changes is both challenging and necessary in order to thrive in your market.
Industry changes aside, your employees are at their best and most capable when they’re well-trained. Training makes new members more engaged, motivated, committed and happy to put in the hard work if they feel that they’re being invested in, cared about and given the resources needed to flourish.
How can your business make the best of career development and training opportunities?
These 12 tried-and-true training how-to’s will help you build a strong, skilled and fierce team capable of handling anything thrown at them.
1. Train on soft skills just as much as (if not more than) hard skills.
You may be doing great at training your employees on how to use the latest software, make reports like a boss and execute the best accounting. But are you teaching them things like time management, interpersonal communication skills, networking skills and stress management? When it comes to most corporate and sales jobs that depend on maintaining outstanding relationships with clients, you may be surprised that soft skills are often more beneficial than hard skills. Make sure you give your employees a chance to improve relationally and interpersonally as much as they do concretely. Your numbers will thank you for it.
2. Don’t waste time starting from scratch.
If your training is currently scattered amongst random word documents, PowerPoints and videos, the lack of cohesion may be causing stress and confusion for your employees. You need to find a way to integrate all of your pre-existing training materials into one organized place. The best way is to use a software that allows you to upload all of these various materials into one platform, which can then be transformed into clear, coherent training e-courses.
3. Offer incentives for employees to keep learning.
Are you rewarding your employees for their desire to keep growing and pursuing more training and career development? Whether it’s through something as big as a job promotion, something practical like free lunches or gym passes, or something as small as a virtual badge or shout out, employees need recognition for their hard work. Positive reinforcement benefits and motivates your team!
4. Focus less on theoretical and more on real-world.
When it comes to effective career development and training, reading and studying can only get you so far. Your team needs real-time, on-the-job practice to truly master a skill or task. Find a software that enables managers to train in real-world conditions. Whether through mock sales calls, hands-on practice or simply shadowing a more experienced team member, your new employees will learn exponentially quicker than from theoretical studying alone.
5. Find a software with features galore.
Are you using a training platform with the dynamic features needed to empower your employees to grow to their fullest potentials? If your platform is old, outdated and ugly, don’t expect your employees (especially the younger ones who grew up with the newest technologies) to be motivated to use it. You need a software that caters to their high technical standards. Think: easy interface, games, interactive exercises, funny videos and other multimedia features. The result? A more fun and fruitful learning process.
6. Make it iPhone-worthy.
Your employees want the freedom to pursue career development and training on their own time, so if the only way for them to access training is from their office desktop, it may not be ideal — especially for those who telecommute or work remotely (approximately one-fourth of today’s employees). Offer training flexibility by using a training platform that can be accessed from mobile devices. The best training software translates seamlessly from a desktop computer to a mobile app without sacrificing format or quality, giving your team a chance to keep training from home, on the train, at the beach, in the shower — you get the picture.
7. Make it personal.
Does your training and career development cater to each trainee’s specific learning style? (Did you know each of your trainees has a specific learning style?) If not, they may not be enticed to use it. Whether it’s providing lots of imagery for visual learners, giving of video and sound clips for audio learners, enabling the chance to practice skills for hands-on learners or offering group discussions for those who prefer to process information with others, you’re increasing the odds that each trainee will find an option that keeps them engaged, motivated and on-track.
Furthermore, does your program give learners a chance to spend longer on harder-to-understand material? New technologies have made adaptive learning, or a software’s ability to consistently customize and update each user’s content based on their prior performance, easier to use than ever. Such a high level of personalization enhances engagement and increases confidence in each person’s specific strengths while accommodating for potential weaknesses.
Lastly, is the material targeted specifically for each person’s unique workplace roles, tasks and duties? There’s no point in Dan from IT to learn how to best maintain external client relationships, or for Barbara from PR to know everything about how the website is coded. Ensuring that each person is focusing on only the tasks they need to thrive in their specific roles will spare time, effort and frustration.
8. Let them collaborate (and bond) along the way.
When pursuing career development and training, are your trainees able to collaborate and share with one another along the way? When employees can connect and communicate during training, it creates a deeper sense of community, trust and friendship — all ingredients for happy and productive teams in the workplace. Find a software that easily integrates with popular communication and messaging apps like Yammer, and allow your employees to form smaller communities for deeper discussions, file transfers and knowledge sharing. Bonus points if trainees can easily send instant video messages to quickly answer each other’s questions.
9. Speak the social language.
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em — especially when it comes to social media. Instead of being frustrated by it, why not leverage the fact that everyone’s always on social media to your company’s advantage? Whether it’s uploading enticing training videos to YouTube (and encouraging comments) or making a staff Facebook page as a spot for people to ask questions or just share a funny article, encouraging bonding through such means will make your team feel more appreciated and grateful to be at your company.
10. All hail the power of video.
The benefits of video integration for employee training and career development are threefold.
First, it creates a painfully easy way for employees from across the country (or globe) to easily partake in training together. Say your IT guru in New York is the perfect person to train your new IT manager in Hong Kong — why not save tons of money from flying him across the world by setting up a seamless video training platform for the two of them? Even better if they use screen sharing to easily show the exact steps for complicated technical processes and if they can record the sessions for the trainee to easily review again later in his own time.
Second, video allows otherwise bland material to come to life and be presented in an engaging, easily digested and easily remembered way, especially compared to text alone.
And third, video messaging creates a sense of community amongst trainees who can easily send each other instant video chats throughout their training, enabling both efficiency in answering each other’s questions and a sense of team bonding (see above).
11. Ask employees what they think of it.
You may think you already have an amazing career development and training program implemented at your company — but do you really? The only way to know for sure is to measure two things: what your employees think of the training (qualitative feedback), and the actual statistical outcomes of the training (quantitative feedback; see below).
What’s interesting is that these two factors are likely to be correlated. If your employees are completely unengaged with your training program, they won’t learn as much, and there will be less improvement. Simple as that.
12. Pay attention to outcomes.
Measuring the effectiveness of your employee training is not only helpful; it’s essential in order to ensure a concrete and quantifiable impact for your business. There are a few different ways to measure success of an employee training program: find a software that lets you measure both short-term success (customizable online assessments with immediate results) and, more importantly, long-term impact (future employee performance, ROI produced through specific KPIs, or even employee turnover rate, which should decrease with good training). The more thoroughly your training outcomes are measured, the better you’ll be able to see the relationship between training metrics and employee performance.
Now that you know the how-to’s, essential benefits and positive correlations of proper training and career development, are you giving your team the resources they need to grow to their fullest capacities at your company? If not, your office morale — and bottom line — may be suffering as a result.
Join the 4.5 million others who have transformed their training methods through vidREACH Train — the simple yet effective platform may be just what your team needs to grow, learn and thrive.