Studies have shown that workplaces with an engaged workforce perform significantly better than their disengaged peers across a variety of measures, including:
Customer ratings (10
Staff turnover (up to 65
Safety incidents (48
Companies are looking for proactive solutions to improve engagement as they become aware of their disengaged workforce. Better pay, better benefits, better work environments are all certainly effective in their own right, but too many businesses are ignoring the second-most significant driver of employee engagement, according to research from Dr Bob Nelson, author of 1,001 Ways To Engage Your Employees: career development.
Staff want to feel like they’re progressing in their career, and that translates to opportunities for growth and appropriate upskilling. Workers who are offered and participate in business-provided training also feel more engaged with the business that offers it.
A feeling of preparedness
A feeling of safety (especially in high-consequence industries)
Greater alignment with the business
Greater connection with the work
Compare these outcomes to the traits that describe an ‘engaged worker’: it checks every box. Whether it’s a new staff member who needs onboarding or an experienced worker who wants to grow, the right training programme offered in the right context at the right time shows a willingness to invest in the worker---and will result in the worker
To train their staff, business leaders need to know their staff - specifically, how they will best learn information. A newly-graduated university student is going to learn quite differently (and need to learn different things) compared to a 20-year veteran of the industry.
If a business is unsure of what differences it needs to consider when providing a training program, the solution is simple: ask the employees. A common tactic is to write up a general training plan with the information the business leaders already have, and then spread that around the company and ask for feedback. Employees, as we’ve demonstrated, want to learn and they will certainly be willing to guide you where they want or need additional training.
While personalization is key to effective training, there are a few general guidelines that businesses should follow:
Make the training trackable. This will highlight where trainees are getting stuck, potentially indicating that the training module needs to be revisited or expanded upon.
Make the training understandable. This includes ensuring the language, format, instructions and any visuals used are clear in their purpose so as to avoid cognitive overload.
Get feedback from participants. While the tracking may indicate hotspots of difficulty, there is no better source of actionable training insights than the trainees themselves.
Train within a context. Theoretical training and practical application are two different things entirely. Where possible, use simulation and scenario training to ensure any new skills can be understood and used in the real world.
Recognize and reward high achievers. Something as simple as a certificate of achievement or a shoutout during a meeting could be an effective way to keep trainees motivated. Friendly competition is nearly always a good way to get more out of the training too.
While there are a lot of different training platforms available, there are a few features that are recommended regardless of your training goals:
Video. Having the opportunity for subject matter experts to demonstrate exactly what it is they are training is highly effective in communicating complex procedures.
Interactivity. Many people learn best by doing - theory can’t
Easy content creation. Necessary updates to training must be as easy as possible,
Paced learning. Not everyone learns at the same rate, and not everybody has the time to do an enormous amount of training all at once. Look for a platform that offers ‘bite-sized learning’.
Tracking. Data is necessary to improve training, and keeping track of people who are stuck on particular modules (and ensuring those who have indicated they’ve completed it have done so fully) is where that data comes from.