Thursday, May 15, 2014

But, We’ve Trained Our Employees

While employees may have gone through some “training,” they are never “trained.” Thinking about any training as a milestone is dangerous. The goal isn’t to complete some training sessions, but to get people to behave in a way that’s consistent with fulfilling your organization’s brand promises. This requires ongoing communications and reinforcement, in addition to the periodic refreshment of some training modules.

Keep in mind that companies throw a lot of information at employees, so it’s easy for them to forget what they’ve seen in training or to think that it’s no longer relevant. Also, there are always new people entering the organization who have not been exposed to some of the training.
Here are some recommendations for shedding this fallacy:

  • Assume people will forget (or ignore). If you assume that employees will forget or ignore what they’ve learned as soon as they leave training, then you will have the right attitude about what you need to do.
  • Focus on ongoing learning. Rather than thinking about delivering training, think about enabling ongoing employee learning. Identify the things that you want employees to know, believe, and do­, and then find ways to reinforce those specific things across multiple mechanisms.
  • Continuously tailor training. Don’t just repeat the same training over and over. Instead, develop measurements to track the areas of training that are most needed by each employee or group of employees. As much as possible, deliver training that aligns with these gaps.
  • Keep training material up to date. Store all training material on the company intranet or in a WIKI for easy access. Having one master document keeps everyone organized and updated when there is a change and a convenient location for new people to access.
  • Help managers reinforce the application of learning. One of the most important elements of learning is on-the-job reinforcement. Nothing crushes the value from training than having managers deliver conflicting messages. Make sure that managers understand their role and are equipped in supporting the learning of their employees.

The bottom line: It's about ongoing learning, not training.
* Portions of this post were shared from one of my favorite blogs "Customer Experience Matters". Thanks Bruce.