Get More for Less with Your Employee Training

Training employees is no easy task, and it’s also not a cheap one either. So much time and money is spent on training new employees that companies have felt the impact after this recession. Companies have found themselves between a rock and a hard place because the two aspects are tied so closely together. Staff has to take time out of their workday to train new employees while costly newcomer mistakes can cost a company big bucks as well. With so much at risk on how an employee is trained and how much they really get out of the sessions, it’s easy to see why so many companies feel like they are at a disadvantage.

So, how do you increase your training strategy while lowering costs? There is no simple answer, but there are some common factors that can be found in the approach that many companies have adopted. The three most common factors revolving around employee training are relevance, motivation, and post-training support. When these three aspects are considered, they can drastically alter how much time and money goes into training while cutting overall costs in the process.

The first aspect that will be covered is relevance.

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Employees retain much more knowledge when they see how relevant it is to what they are doing. Many companies like to have long seminars where they read from a booklet, or worse, lecture sessions in which the learners struggle to even stay focused.  The problem of course is that most people listen to the material being presented without every knowing how they will use it. The common complaint by employees is something many training managers are familiar with – What’s in it for me? So, your training sessions need to be well prepared so as to ensure that they are relevant to the employees who will be attending the course or activity. Otherwise, it will only be a waste of time and resources.

By taking the time to show them how what they are learning impacts their performance, you have a much higher probability of everyone remembering what they were taught. This is especially true with new hires, but also keep in mind that veterans may be against a new protocol or program until they see the benefits of using it. It’s important that the trainers focus on practical examples which employees can apply in their daily work, focusing on the “how to” areas when it comes to perform their work. Have them practice it as well.  Repetition helps people master performance. 

Another way to demonstrate relevance during the training process is having new employees observe those already trained.  Have them sit with the veteran workers, watching them as they perform common everyday tasks.  Furthermore, once training has ended, have the veteran employees serve as a mentor to fresh faces in assisting them to familiarize themselves to their daily work.

The next area of focus is motivation.

If employees are not motivated to learn or have no passion, the retention level is much lower. Employees that are engaged and motivated will learn everything with open arms, even if they are not aware of it. Think back to when you had a subject that you excelled in, and one that you had trouble with. Chances are very high that you hardly had to study for your favorite subject, yet had to spend extra time on your trouble area. People learn more when they are excited, and that’s something that you can use to your advantage. Make everyone excited for their learning experience. Whether they are just coming into the company or have been there since the beginning, rekindling that passion will go a long way.

What can managers do to ensure their employees are motivated? Well, for one thing, they can present employees with real incentives, including in training. Companies have an understandable habit of becoming complacent in their organizational framework. When things are going well, they are hesitant to change it up.  So this can apply to financial rewards as well. This isn’t a condemnation, it’s just nature. Having this happen is understandable, but now that you’re aware, do something about it. Motivate your employees to succeed in training by offering them actual raises, bonuses or other frills which show them they are appreciated, and makes the whole affair intrinsically valuable to them, not just your company.

gamification1Yet it goes beyond financial incentives. It’s important to remember that a company is its people, and therefore, they need to feel like such.  When employees go through the daily grind, whether during training or beyond, they feel demoralized and fatigued.   So try to make training engaging and fun.  For example, gamification is an excellent way to get employees engaged and motivated. When something becomes a game, with some depth to it, with goals, rewards and challenges, it instantly becomes interesting to most. Alongside this engagement, it also brings motivators in the rewards and goals themselves, which if implemented correctly, can become their own rewards to motivated employees at work or being trained.

Post-Training Support

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, is the post-training support. Learning how to do something can take time, and that’s why it’s important to provide guidance after the training is over. Some are too afraid to ask for help while others think they understand, but have the wrong idea in mind. By providing support after training, you are able to iron out the kinks that may still exist with little to no effort. This opportunity can also be used to check comprehension and how effective the training was.

There are several different ways that post-training support can be utilized, but WalkMe is one of the best ways to incorporate something simple and effective. It works like a digital GPS, and walks users through each step of even the most complex tasks, providing them with clear and simple instructions. It’s a great way to refresh memories as well as ensure everyone has learned what is expected of them.  In addition, WalkMe provides detailed analytics for managers to monitor employee progress, and where there remains room for improvement.

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Performance support aids like WalkMe also help companies to reduce both the direct costs (the costs of the training staff, location, technology, etc.) used during training, as well as the indirect costs, the time spent by new hires away performing their essential work, the reason why they were hired.  It gets them up to speed quickly and efficiently, while still allowing them to learn as they work.

By implementing each of these aspects into training, companies will be able to cut costs while increasing productivity.

Jason Silberman
Jason is the former Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog
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