The Modern Rules of Effective Employee Training Programs

The Modern Rules of Effective Employee Training Programs
2 minute read

So much has been made about Generation Y—the so-called millennials—comprising the majority of the modern workforce that many companies might not even be thinking about the group of workers that will follow. The first wave of Generation Z, roughly anyone born this century, might be working their first part-time jobs right now, are preparing for college, and are already thinking about their careers. One survey found that the opportunity for career growth was the most important consideration for a Generation Zer’s first job, outranking stability, fulfilling work, and a variety of other factors.

Effective employee training programs must reflect the concerns and values of younger workers, whether they were born before or after 2000. Companies mired in the methods that seemed sufficient even 10 years ago may discover that their workers don’t reach a level of engagement necessary to maximize success. Hence, some rules of effective employee training programs to consider:

Make Content Accessible

For decades, most of the training employees could receive—training that was delivered outside of shoulder-to-shoulder interaction—was via preprinted training manuals and three-ring binders full of processes that a worker was expected to study. The prospect of these daunting materials often prevented (and still prevent) many employees from taking any sort of initiative to learn their roles and other workers’ roles. In the modern era, employee training programs are far more effective when they enable and inspire workers to seek the knowledge they need on their own. Mobile training solutions help achieve this goal by conveniently providing access to content on a tablet rather than in a printed format.

Show, Don’t Tell

The other drawback with printed training content is its impact is far less effective than with visual materials. Imagine, for example, a restaurant employee who must clean a grease trap—a process he wasn’t trained in but, out of necessity, he might need to attempt one day. He can read about the process from a manual that doesn’t include any illustrations … and hope he gets it correct. Or, he can view interactive content on a tablet that includes instructions and pictures, thus guiding him every step of the way. Better yet, he can access a video on the same iPad or Surface that demonstrates the process—pausing and rewinding as needed so he does the job right.

Be Thorough

The grease trap scenario is a perfect example of a process a company needs their workers to know but doesn’t have any sort of content available to teach them. Employee training programs should cover the basic skills workers must master to be productive, but can also cover every process, procedure, and task imaginable. This level of detail was once unthinkable, but with mobile training solutions, it is now possible—and almost easy. Videos that might have once required a production crew to film can now be shot by front-line employees on their tablets. Content can be shared locally, to all the stores operated by a franchisee, or throughout the entire company.

Encourage Employee Input

The modern workforce doesn’t want to sit on the sidelines, blindly following orders and given no opportunity to ask questions, offer suggestions, or be part of the process. Employee input is important, not only for the workers who are offering it, but also for the companies that will benefit by receiving it. After all, if an employee-suggested improvement increases efficiency, does that not help the bottom line? And if a new hire gets an important question answered, will he or she not be productive sooner? Feedback should be an essential element of modern employee training programs, thus providing benefits immediate and in the long term.

What do you think employee training programs must include to address the workplace of the future?

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