Effectively training your employees is a difficult task. New employees need to learn the ropes, the basics of their jobs and their place in your company's culture. Existing employees need challenges and ongoing education opportunities to help them advance and excel. Mix in a changing business world and endless technological development and you have a recipe for confusion and, possibly, disaster.
Take heart! We have broken down some key steps for bringing order to the chaos
Here are 8 steps for improving your employee learning program
Facilitate consistent communication between different departments in your company so that employees have a greater understanding of their place in the process and of how they can work together to move the company forward. People like to know that their work means something and fits into a larger picture.
New employees need to be taught the basics of their job in an efficient manner. There are many ways to do this, some of which you probably already use, such as digital learning. One of the most powerful tools is a mentorship and coaching program. Pairing a new employee with a more experienced one promotes positive workplace relationships and allows the new employee to find their place, learn the job quickly, and excel in it. Mentorship, unlike digital learning, is an older model, but it has endured for a very good reason: it works.
Technical skills and experience are crucial, but don’t neglect people skills for use with others inside and outside the company. Many people who leave their jobs cite negative workplace relationships as a reason—and turnover, besides being a morale-killer, costs the company lots of money. Compassion, cooperation, and understanding among employees will make your company a pleasant place to work. Employees with considerate colleagues (and bosses!) are happier and more productive.
Employees who deal with clients, business partners, suppliers, and other associates must possess people skills for obvious reasons. People will be loyal to your company if the contact person is pleasant to deal with and accommodates their needs. On the flipside, a rude employee may drive business away (and word of mouth travels fast). Make sure all your employees know these “soft” but crucial skills.
You may need to get buy-in for your strategic plan from company leadership. To do this, show them how learning opportunities can help your business reduce turnover and attract new talent (you can use data from other companies for this if you do not yet have your own). You cannot afford not to provide learning opportunities for your employees.
5. Continuing Education
When educating new recruits, don’t neglect your existing employees. Everyone wants to excel and advance—it’s human nature. If you do not challenge your employees and provide them with opportunities for learning and improvement, they will disengage and look for more stimulating and rewarding opportunities elsewhere. With a culture of learning in your company, they will remain loyal, engaged, and skilled assets.
Identify employees who show a desire and potential for growth and leadership. Have the human resources department work with them to chart out a career plan that meets their needs, and excites and motivates them. The employee may want opportunities to shadow people in other positions and develop specific skills to prepare for promotion. Challenge them with innovative projects in new and expanding sectors of your business. If the growth of your company is important to you, these employees will be your seeds. Take good care of them.
Work with your internal quality or audit team to measure your progress and identify the strengths and weaknesses of your training program. Analyze each development and see how it impacts the company’s bottom line. Have any new employees quit within their first six months? If so, why? How is the company turnover for more seasoned employees? Has your customer retention rate changed? Zero in on the weaknesses and correct them. Celebrate the strengths and build on them.
8. Reach Out
Sometimes your company’s education program just needs a fresh set of eyes, especially if you are having a hard time identifying what needs to be changed and what learning opportunities you should provide for your employees. If you would like a learning expert to evaluate your program, contact us.