Organizational training plans can be tricky to work out. Anyone in a leadership position can vouch for this. When the time comes to teach a team, or entire company something new, especially something complicated, you can’t help but audibly sigh, knowing full well what a logistical nightmare this is going to be to properly plan and accomplish.
People are all different, and usually this is a good thing, imagine how dull a world this would be if we all thought and learned the same things in the same ways. However, for a leader working out organizational training plans, diversity can be a great dragon to be slain, rather than one of the great things in life.
So, with that in mind, let’s stop and look at 5 key factors to consider when working these training plans out, which may help to alleviate some of the logistical problems that plague this task otherwise.
Organizational Training Plans – 5 Key Factors to Consider
#1 – Time Constraints
Time constraints in these learning plans are often mistakenly just factored in as work hours available, during the design phase. This results in work-around such as holding classes or lectures after hours or on weekends.
Anyone who works a salaried job will be the first to point out how awful this is, and how receptive they are going to be to the information being dispensed, if they have to give up all or part of their Saturday to be present for it. It will breed a resentfulness in many that will make the whole process futile. It also breeds discontent in employees on a level that can, if done too often, endanger the overall quality of work and stability within an environment, and it can undermine the confidence they have in your leadership.
Consider prioritizing actual work they perform, and find which parts of the day are the least important, and schedule learning in small bursts during these times. Less important or trivial filler work will be recovered by attrition over time, and they will be receptive to learning if this dull, menial work is abated. They may even enjoy it. Do not impinge on their breaks or lunch hours though, as this breeds the same lack of reception and the same discontent as impinging on their weekends will, if on a somewhat lesser level.
#2 – Learning Group Sizes
It’s a common mistake in any learning environment, including organizational learning within a company, to try to teach groups that are too large. When a group is this large, it more people will need extra attention within a group if they have legitimate questions or something they do not understand.
When groups are large, this can drag things on unnecessarily long, reducing reception of the whole and even breeding some discontent among employees when individuals slow the process down.
It is better to divide and conquer, creating small learning groups.
#3 – Specialization
On the note of smaller groups, it is best to compartmentalize learning groups by what they are learning in relation to how it relates to their jobs. Avoid generalized learning of an entire office or team if some aspects of the learning are relevant only to specific individuals, teams or departments.
As a leader, you know what your teams and employees specialize in, and so you know what they need or do not need to learn from new subject matter. Use this knowledge, as employees subjected to extraneous knowledge they do not need will become frustrated and miss out on the parts that they do need to know. This was an issue they expected to be past once they left traditional education, and will be rather unhappy to be confronted with it again.
This is something often not considered in organizational training plans, and is often the source of failure.
Plus, this increases efficiency if people learn only the relevant information, alleviating some of the problems with work hours mentioned above, requiring less workarounds that impinge on productivity or personal time.
#4 – Engagement
Traditional classroom methods of learning don’t really work that well anyhow, with a diverse group of people. On top of the issues above, the linear form of teaching this creates is inefficient and often too dull to retain the attention of those involved.
It is better to find ways to make this engaging through gamification methods, or through some one-on-one time with people, so they may learn as they do. Hands on learning or motivation through unconventional means are more likely to produce results, and guarantee reception on visible levels.
#5 – Incentives
When new information needs to be learned or processes and understanding need revised, it is best to reinforce this learning and provide incentives as well. This goes along with gamification philosophies, which we’ll discuss in detail some other time.
When someone learns something new and challenging, they will enjoy some acknowledgment of their accomplishment, and will want their skill as an employee to be viewed as more valuable afterward – which it will be. Acknowledgment and reward for their accomplishments and extra effort above and beyond their normal jobs will improve their productivity and their drive to continue to learn and evolve as employees, as teams and as a company.
These are some things to consider about the human animal when working out organizational training plans, and hopefully, they provide some insight into how to truly reach employees and ensure that learning is an enthusiastic and productive experience for all involved.
Please leave your thoughts in the comments section, and less us know if you want to add any other key factors.
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