After discussing and implementing many of the mainstream ideas on employee training, I had come to a sort of standstill. I had a hard time finding new and interesting ways to train employees in an efficient manner while still keeping them active and engrossed throughout the training process. There are so many methods out there, but each one works drastically different for respective teams or individuals. It is important to keep in mind who you are trying to train in order to know which method to use.
Curious as to what other employee training professionals thought about this topic, I utilized to LinkedIn to gather the opinions from members of groups I am a part of. I was overwhelmed with many interesting comments that included creative and innovative ideas on how to approach employee training.
One answer that continued to appear with many different examples was “gamification.” You are able to be very imaginative with this form of training as there are many options available. An example, suggested by Lisa Landry, is to have some sort of Jeopardy game among the employees. She commented, “I like to divide my teams in doubles or quads and use flashcards to evaluate product knowledge…Winner’s get exclusive swag which makes it fun.”
This evokes a stimulating and interesting environment for the employees to retain the information that is needed. Similarly, Emily Timbrell commented that she creates a “quiz competition with a quiz master and an audience (TV show type environment),” which she says encourages engagement and healthy competition among the team members!
Role playing can also be a useful option for your team, if you are after improving customer-employee relationships, or even for a sales team. Dave Grof suggested this option stating that his group “makes it into a knockout competition where the other team members vote on who wins.”
A different route to training could be using practicing presentations. This option ensures that the proper information is being retained, as long as we remain in an environment where the employees feel safe.
Penny Griffiths presented a great example on how to go about utilizing presentations. A group of graduate engineers were sent to a training course and had to later present what they learned. She stated, “they had to focus well on the course to be able to cascade it down…They practiced their presentation skills with a safe in house audience.” This is a method to make sure your employees are paying close attention to the information they need.
Another example is through debate, suggested by Andy Walker, who says he has seen this method be very effective. He states to “invoke passionate debate and even argument by introducing controversy to delegates…This technique tends to ignite what could otherwise be a rather dry topic and can be done to enforce any key learning point during training to development sessions.” This is surely an interesting way to get employees involved in discussions.
Linked to the topic of debates, Dale Wilcox commented that a new company promotes the idea of using managers to “coach and lead their people using conversations based on various topics chosen from popular books.” She further states that this “develops the leader and brings the team together to focus on ideas to apply to their everyday work.” To combine this idea with debates, you could possibly choose topics from books to discuss further in a debate setting. That will really get the team heated up about training.
To Sum Up…
These interesting training ideas are only some of the many that were suggested, and I greatly appreciate all the help that was given. I opted for insights and opinions that may not have crossed my mind. On the other hand, I was surprised to see that, even in the digital age, trainers still seem to prefer and favor the use of the more “traditional” forms of training.
Seeing the success of more “digital” training methods, such as the use of contextual guidance systems, or even blended methods that are very popular noawadays, I expected experts to recommend those. However, as long as you are thinking outside the box and have your employees’ best interest at heart, you are sure to discover a sure-fire way to train employees efficiently and still have a good time.