How to Fix a Broken Employee Training Program
Here is a stark truth. Poorly trained employees cannot do their jobs well, which means that your business suffers. A broken employee training program drains resources instead of creating them.
What is the solution? You fix the broken parts. It is a step-by-step process that will lead to a smarter, safer, more productive workforce.
Identify the Problems
Before you can revamp your employee training program, start by identifying the problems. What does not work?
For instance, maybe you have noticed an increase in worker injuries. This could mean that employees do not know how to take proper safety precautions, or it could indicate that they need retraining to help them avoid carelessness.
Perhaps your employees do not hit their work goals. They are too slow to complete projects, or they perform work incorrectly, resulting in hours lost.
Whatever the case, you cannot fix something if you do not know why it is broken.
Ask For Employee Feedback
Do not make assumptions based simply on data or observations. Talk to your employees about their struggles in the workplace. What aspects of their jobs intimidate them? What are their greatest frustrations?
Create a safe space if you want honest employee feedback. Workers who worry about getting fired will tell you what you want to hear, which defeats the purpose of asking for feedback.
Reassure your employees that you want honest answers so you can help them do their jobs better. Invite them to take part in the process so they feel more connected to the company.
Shorten Your Training Sessions
Do you remember cramming for college exams? You memorized 500 pieces of data, then forgot every bit of it the moment you filled in the final question on the test.
That is not what you want from your employee training program.
Instead of giving your workers the equivalent of a three-day cram session, spread out your training program into bite-sized chunks. Work on one specific goal or process at a time so you do not overwhelm your students. Even better, a self-paced training program helps your employees learn at a comfortable pace, which aids in retention of key information.
Yes, this strategy takes more time. However, it is also more effective because your employees will retain the information you give them.
Train For Immediate Needs
In that same vein, do not try to train your employees for every job duty they might have over the next ten years. Focus on each employee's current job description only. You can set up sessions for cross-training and intensive training later on, but for now, focus on current needs.
The problem with extensive training programs that incorporate future needs is that your workers will not remember everything five years from now. Additionally, your internal technologies and processes might have changed by then, rendering your current resources obsolete.
Use Technology to Engage EmployeesToday, the best employee training programs incorporate extensive technology. Tools like laptop computers, smartphones, tablets, employee training apps, and productivity tools can greatly increase your training program’s effectiveness.
Today, the best employee training programs incorporate extensive technology. Tools like laptop computers, smartphones, tablets, employee training apps, and productivity tools can greatly increase your training program's effectiveness.
For instance, you can use the hubEngage employee training app to streamline your training tools, encourage P2P communication between colleagues, stream training videos that employees can watch as their schedules allow, and more. It is also a great tool for measuring employee performance and rewarding worker excellence.
Videos offer several time-saving benefits. You do not have to dedicate trainers to each training session, for instance, and you can reuse the material as you hire more workers.
Train Your Trainers
Sometimes, a broken employee training program can be traced back to the trainers themselves. A program should be not only informative, but also interesting and even entertaining. Otherwise, your trainers will face an audience of glazed-over eyes.
When you appoint an employee to train others, make sure he or she knows your expectations. You could even conduct a mock training session and offer feedback.
If you are conducting group training, make the presentation as entertaining as possible. Between chunks of informative data, throw in a few jokes to keep the crowd awake.
Create an Assessment Program
Fixing a broken employee training program is not a one-shot deal. You can make a major overhaul right now, but you will have to make smaller adjustments as time passes. Continually monitor the program and employee performance so you know how well the program is working.
You can tie this process to your employee performance reviews. As you sit down with each worker, ask the questions discussed above. Are they experiencing any acute frustrations? Do they understand every aspect of their job description? On what duty could they use more training?
Collect this data and review the results. You are likely to see patterns in employee answers, and those patterns can lead to better training if you apply them correctly.
Do Not Neglect Soft Skills
When you think about employee training, you often focus on hard skills, such as how to perform a particular function or use a specific piece of equipment. However, soft skills can prove just as valuable in the workplace.
Some of the most beneficial soft skills to teach include:
- Time management
- Stress management
- Conflict resolution
- Written and verbal communication
- Problem solving
- Critical observation
Incorporating these skills into your training program can produce more well-rounded employees.
Do Not Repeat Training
Employee training is not a one-size-fits-all process. If you attempt to teach employees skills they already know, they will become bored and frustrated.
Before you put a new employee into training, identify his or her knowledge level and experience. Imagine a seasoned CEO sitting in a class full of college graduates. That is not the environment you want to create.
Train From the Top Down
Just as you must train your trainers, you must also train your managers and executive suite. A lack of management buy-in will tank the program and result in serious conflicts between employees at different levels in the hierarchy.
While developing and implementing an employee training program takes time, it is one of your most important assets. If it is broken, now is the time to assess and address problems so your employees and your company benefit. From an employee training app to management buy-in, these resources can make your training more effective and less costly. If you are ready to get your employee training program up to scratch, try the hubEngage app for free.