Continuous training is necessary to keep your team performing at the highest level, but it is often dreaded by most employees (and sometimes management, too). When the email is sent out reminding everyone of the company-wide training session scheduled for that afternoon, most employees let out a groan and a sigh. Others will complain and consider it a waste of their time. After all, there are more important and pressing matters on their plates than going over the latest software update (which they’ve already been using for weeks).
When employees and management alike struggle to see the value in these training workshops, it can be extremely difficult for you, as a human resources professional, to keep them motivated and engaged enough to gain any true value from attending–the exact opposite of what you want. In order to motivate your team and present them with learning opportunities that will actually benefit your company, try implementing some of these below methods:
1. Discover what training is wanted as well as what’s needed
Obviously, there are going to be times when training is required regardless of how boring, repetitive, or unnecessary it may seem. Unfortunately, there are no ways around that. However, training workshops and other learning initiatives can be implemented even when they’re not required. If you want to help your team stay motivated and engaged during training, it helps if it’s training that your employees actually want.
When it comes to discovering what it is your team wants, the best method is always to ask. Gathering and implementing employee feedback is an important part of helping your employees feel heard. When your employees feel heard, they stay engaged and motivated. Gathering feedback surrounding training also informs you and your leadership team of where your employees may be struggling so that you can offer them the guidance they need to do their jobs well.
It can also be beneficial to incorporate training that is requested by your team, but it may not exactly seem like a necessity to you. There are many reasons a team member may request specific training. Whether they’re looking to expand their professional or personal knowledge, implementing that feedback will tell your team you are listening and you care about their wants as well as their needs. It also offers your employees the opportunity to earn transferable skills and knowledge to help them progress in their careers at your company.
2. Ensure training is easily accessible to everyone
When we say everyone, we do mean everyone–which means ensuring training is easy to access for employees in the office or those working from home. Each day, the possibility of returning to the office seems greater and greater. However, not all companies will have office spaces and not all team members are going to be able to commute to an office space. Hybrid work schedules are going to become much more common. With these factors in mind, you’re going to want to offer every employee the ability to access these pivotal trainings, whether they are doing it from home or from their office.
This method also applies to opening up the training sessions to everyone at your company, even if it isn’t initially for team members in their department. For instance, if you’re having a training session for the sales team to discuss the most effective sales techniques, you should also be allowing your customer service team to join if they would like. Perhaps someone on the customer service team aspires to join the sales team or maybe they will have something to gain from learning about the communication methods from sales and vice versa.
Once you’ve discovered a system for your employees to attend training workshops, whether they’re in person or online, you want to make those sessions easy to access. For teams in the office, this can mean sending out reminders, announcing it during weekly meetings, etc. Basically, you want to ensure each team member knows the exact date, time, and location of the training workshops without having to hunt for the information. Because if they have to hunt for it, they probably will forget and won’t go.
For remote teams, you might want to consider having the training workshops or sessions accessible on mobile devices as well as other desktop devices. The easier it is to access the training, the more likely it will be that your team will attend.
3. Have training feel like a game
No, we’re being serious. Look, nobody wants to sift through packets of information or watch YouTube video tutorials on how to use a new software. Plus, those methods make it a bit difficult to track your employees’ progress. A big factor in keeping employees engaged and motivated to complete training is to make that training fun.
When considering how to make the training feel more like a game and less like a chore, consider implementing milestone achievements, such as badges. When an employee earns a badge for completing one of the training modules, they will feel a sense of accomplishment, and you will be able to track their progress to make sure they’re doing the work.
This method can be as simple or as creative as your team decides. You may even want to consider having teams or departments pair up to accomplish a final project or competition. Having your employees interact with one another also promotes engagement.
4. Get rid of irrelevant and unnecessary training when possible
This piece of advice may seem a bit too obvious, and to be honest, it is. However, sometimes the answer we need is the one that’s always been right in front of us. When evaluating what training sessions you have lined up for your employees, consider how many of them may actually be needed.
As previously mentioned, there are going to be some workshops that are non-negotiable. Once you’ve narrowed your list down from there, consider what remaining sessions are needed. Did your team have the same workshop last year? Did anyone request this training? Is the training itself outdated? As much as your employees need to be continuously improving, your human resources team needs to be improving as well. One method for improvement is to evaluate your own operations. Consider what’s needed and conduct research to see if there are better options available. It may take you some time, but if done correctly, the time may be worth the investment.
Bonus tip: Make training a priority from the top-down
This tip is for you. When the only people concerned with employee training are those within the human resources department, you’re not going to be given the appropriate resources to provide your team with the best training, nor will you be able to provide them with the training they want. In order to accomplish that, you first need to ensure management sees the value in employee training and development as much as you do. If you can have your leadership team view internal training as a priority instead of a chore, they will help you accomplish your goals rather than make your job more difficult.
Employee engagement has always played a large part in employee productivity and satisfaction. Where possible, it can be worth your time to seek out ways to make ordinary or bland activities more engaging. When it comes to employee training and development, there are plenty of methods to do so. It may take some creativity and some research on your part, but the benefits will be well worth it.
If any of the above methods worked for you and your team, leave us a comment to let us know what you did and continue to check in every Friday at noon for more articles from BrandResumes’ HR Corner. Good luck!