Training a handful of employees is relatively simple — you’re able to clearly identify problems and come up with solutions. Training on a corporate level, however, is much more difficult. Corporations aren’t nearly as agile as startups, and their ability to get people up to speed often suffers as a result.
If you’re struggling to enact a strong training system, here are a few tactics you can try that have passed muster with even the biggest of companies. Sometimes, there’s really no need to reinvent the wheel.
1. Incorporate Customized Video Training
When you’re addressing more than 500 employees at multiple locations, it’s difficult to send a representative to each location for a training. That’s where video comes in. Companies like IBM and Microsoft, for example, famously use video training to address all their employees and provide adequate training on certain topics.
Video training is effective and simple to execute, and it significantly lowers costs when compared with on-site training sessions. It also provides flexibility for locations that may have tight schedules or unique learning needs.
2. Implement a Consistent Communication System
Often, problems with corporate training arise not with the training itself, but with the means of communication. You’ll send out a memo to all relevant parties, but not everyone will receive or implement your request.
It might be useful to implement a very basic initial training on how you’ll communicate trainings. Let people know whether to expect them by email, a project manager software system, or in-person chats. Use the same method of communication when relaying all training instructions to ensure your managers are on the same page.
3. Seek Employee Feedback
After a training, send a mass email to all employees asking for their feedback on the session. The responses you receive will be invaluable for crafting more effective trainings in the future — and for gauging the level of understanding.
You’ll want to ask a series of questions, including:
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how effective was today’s training?
- What are some things you would have liked us to do differently?
- What are 5 key takeaways from today’s training?
- Do you have any other comments worth noting?
You can use survey technology like SurveyMonkey or Pollster to create your forms and mass-send them to your employees.
You’ll receive several lackluster responses to this email, but you’ll also receive some great responses. Be sure to implement what you learn in your next training to show your employees that you’re listening. Best of all, you’ll increase the effectiveness of your training.
4. Don’t Leave Everything to HR
It’s easy for training to land on the shoulders of your HR staffers. They should play a large role in the creation and facilitation of your training, but effective training takes a more holistic approach that includes multiple departments, including management.
Additionally, it may be more effective to have your executives deliver the training, not your HR team. This indicates that your executives are involved and that it’s not a dictate coming only from HR.
Sometimes it may be practical to invest in professional learning and development initiatives. The training videos we discussed earlier are also useful for taking some of the training burden off the shoulders of the HR department. This could be something like professionally produced and customized corporate sales training videos or specialty learning/training opportunities developed by a consultant company. Remember that well trained and happy employees are usually more engaged, so think of customized training videos as another tool to accomplish that goal.
5. Expect Something from Your Employees
When training employees on the corporate level, it’s difficult to ensure that the training reaches everyone. Making it a two-way process in which you expect something in return creates a great measuring stick.
For example, you could implement an hour’s worth of in-person or video training and then assign homework. Each employee may be required to complete a certain number of hours of research on a topic or be required to show proof he or she applied what you taught. This creates a sense of lifelong leaning that’s invaluable in the workplace.
6. Leave Some Wiggle Room
Your corporation will be filled with different genders, a broad range of ages, and a variety of learning styles that you’ll need to take into consideration. You can’t implement a single method of training and expect everyone to soak it in like a sponge.
Being flexible with your trainings will help ensure that every person is learning, no matter his or her preferred learning style. This lets employees’ natural talents come through, and it challenges those who may be stuck in their ways. A rigid training regime is an obstruction to progress.
7. Stop Telling and Start Showing
We’ve all sat through presentations in which the speaker talked at you, sharing a message that invited no participation. You might have nodded off or zoned out, taking in very little of what was said.
Instead, truly instruct your audience with practical examples, useful case studies, and even tasteful role-playing. Encourage audience members to discuss these principles in a group to keep them engaged and make sure they’re internalizing the content.
It’s simple steps like these that make your instruction far more effective and long-lasting. Your best employees want to learn, but they need your help to do it.