If you’re a one-person show, all of the motivation and productivity you need will come from within yourself. But if your business has employees, they are the lifeblood of your company, and their outlook and productivity will be the strongest determinant of your company’s success.
Training your employees isn’t like buying letterhead stationery or hiring someone to do one-time logo design. Training has to be an ongoing process, and your best training starts on your employee’s first day at the company. A study by the Association for Talent Development (ATD) shows that companies that provide their team with comprehensive training programs enjoy a 218% higher income per staff person.
Are you convinced of the importance of robust training programs for your team members? Here are some tips to help you get them off to the right start.
1. Promote a Learning Culture
Training shouldn’t start and end during an employee’s first day or week of employment. If your employees aren’t continuously learning, your company will fall behind. Encourage your staff to stay abreast of what’s happening in their professions by allowing space in their schedules for learning opportunities.
2. Consider How People Learn
When planning training activities, keep in mind that every individual learns differently and absorbs information in their own unique way. Follow the Kolb four-stage learning cycle for effectiveness in training.
- Concrete experience: learning by doing
- Reflective observation: learn by reflecting on experienced that occurred in the past
- Abstract conceptualism: new ideas are formed based on past experiences
- Active experimentation: test out the new ideas
If you utilize the Kolb cycle, you actively engage employees in their learning processes. Also, this process encourages continuous learning and more reflection.
3. Stress Training as an Investment
The first key to effective employee training is firmly establishing training in your company as an investment, not an expense. It costs money to implement training programs and to spend the time training staff, but your company will reap the benefits in the long run.
4. Train your Trainers
Your trainers shouldn’t be whoever you can spare to throw in with new employees. Having a trained, dedicated trainer on staff, even if it’s that employee’s secondary role, ensures that your training will be more effective. Equip your trainers with continuous learning opportunities, including books, classes, “train the trainer” workshops, and research.
5. Deploy 70:20:10
The 70:20:10 theory says that people are most productive if you train using this breakdown of activities.
- 70% of lessons via concrete experience (learn by doing)
- 20% from other people
- 10% from classes or courses
6. Use Digital Training Tools
The IBIS Capital Report shows 41.7% of companies on the Fortune 500 list use digital tools for staff training. If the most successful businesses in the world use digital training tools, you can assume this is an effective training technique. One example of digital training is webinars. However, make sure your webinars are as engaging as in-person training programs.
7. Consider Visual Appeal
When you use interactive, visually appealing content, your employees have an increased chance of retaining information. The training is more likely to stick with them, making them more productive overall. Follow these tips to make your training more visually appealing.
- Shorter sentences
- Sub-headers (like we’ve done in this article)
- Shorter paragraphs
- Italics and bold text
- Graphs, charts, and illustrations
- Relevant images
All of these tips serve another purpose, too. They’re mobile-device (smaller screen) friendly.
8. Eliminate Fluff
As trainers, it can be tempting to fluff up material to make it more “complete.” Here’s the problem with that: Your messages get lost in the fluff. Training should be precise, targeted, and relevant. Deliver what they need to know and nothing more. Just be sure you’re delivering it engagingly.
9. Train in Spurts
Shorter and more concise training sessions are more effective than marathon sessions. While the day-long (or week-long) training program occasionally has its place, most people learn better if you concentrate training into sessions of 15-30 minutes. The key here is short, interactive training sessions. Break up your sessions using any of these complementary training tools.
- Short quizzes with small prizes for completion (don’t exclude anyone based on quiz results)
- Interactive games
- Friendly competitions
- Role Playing
- Shadowing or mentoring with long-term team members
You can even consider microlearning, which are nuggets of training and chunks of information broken up into 3-7 minutes. Using tools like learning cards increase engagement by up to 50%. These types of tools take advantage of the human brain’s working memory ability.
Productivity for the Win
Creating a team of productive employees doesn’t happen overnight. However, you can create your dream team over time if you invest in your employees. Make sure they have everything they need to be successful, and following these tips will help you get your team to peak productivity.