What’s your Employee Education System?

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keyboard2As a business professional, possibly the head of your business, people probably often ask you what your company’s stance or approach on one thing or another is. “What is your business philosophy? What is your service motto? What is your revenue model?” So, you’re used to having a clear view and definition of these various things that you can eloquently recite when asked. So let me ask you one you’re going to stumble on for once. What’s your employee education system like? Do you have one? You should, because you need to train and orientate employees who are new to the company on your philosophies, rules, etiquette and of course the specifics of their job within your organization. But, you don’t stop there, do you? You do keep on training your employees, and have an established employee education system in place to handle large organizational learning tasks as well as individual learning needs? Well, if you’re a small business, maybe it’s not that complicated. Perhaps for a small or medium business, a simpler system, with just instances of ad hoc training for future needs works well enough. With businesses that small, everyone’s in on the training whenever it needs to be done. But, in a lot of businesses, the employee education system is kind of garbage. Chains like fast food restaurants, convenience stores and retail facilities have pretty archaic and lousy systems. Most of them rely on a lazy classroom where learners watch a video, then take a written or computerized test, and are then sent on their way, out into the fray of business warfare. This works in theory, but it doesn’t work very well. What they need is a way to learn by doing, so I want to propose a new form of education system for employees, wherein they learn by guidance from other employees in a hands on manner. Assign new employees to a seasoned employee who gets a training bonus for their effort. Have the new employee spend the time with them, watching them perform the job, try it themselves, and learn safely without any resulting disasters occurring. When they are an existing employee learning a new task, this works just as well, between employees with a good rapport to begin with. However, when it comes to large scale training of departments or organizations, then you really need a learning model that is flexible and engaging for your employees, and one that inspires a team work mindset and a sense of unity. For a large scale, long-term employee education system, you need a dedicated training person who understands the sciences involved in applying training of this scale, and you need human resources people who understand people as complex variables, not just numbers to report to accounting. This is something you really need to give a lot of thought to if you haven’t already, because your tutorial videos and memory tests just aren’t going to cut the mustard any more, business world. Training should be viewed as a valuable tool, not a chore to be endured as punishment for being new. They will learn from experience anyhow, not the test they forget about in bliss ten minutes after the fact.
Head of Corporate and Marketing Communications at WalkMe and Contributing Author to Training Station blog.