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7 Ways To Engage Employees With Training

7 Ways To Engage Employees With Training

On-going employee training can be a natural aspect to overlook – especially when there are more pressing or urgent goals on the horizon. This goes both ways, for the employee and the employer. However, on-the-job or on-going training is a crucial part of growing your company by developing the skill set of your employees. Another reason to spend time training your employees is that it creates buy-in from them, especially when the training will provide direct benefits for their current and future work. 

With so many great reasons why employee training is so beneficial, it can be difficult to understand why some employees seem resistant to the idea. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to engage your employees with the idea of more training:

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1. Make it personal

Typically, making something personal isn’t the best idea – especially in the workplace. However, when it comes to employee training, the more personalized you make training, the more likely your employee will respond positively to training. The best way to do this is to keep the learner at the center of the training. Pushing learning, especially learning curriculums that are of a one-size-fits-all variety, is a quick way to turn your employees off, and even results in an adverse effect on their work, with time lost and possible feelings of devaluation.

2. Ask your employees

Sometimes asking your employees can lead to a dead end, due to the circumstances, office politics, and so forth. Sometimes you need to intervene and make a decision that’s best for the company. Training can be like that too. Sometimes you might have an employee who is good at recognizing their strengths and weaknesses, and other times you’ll have to step in and offer some guidance. Regardless of the type of employee, when it comes to training and self-improvement, it’s always a good idea to ask them first. After all, it’s important for employees to be engaged. For example, in various coding classes, there are many ways to help employees retain their training knowledge, while also being a win-win for the company. This doesn’t need to be a daunting thing at all. A simple conversation about personal development goals is likely a conversation that will leave you both feeling better and it’ll offer clearer insights into how your employee views their development while also giving you some key insights into what motivates them and what they see as important.

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3. Career advancement

If your employee sees a clear path in their professional development through training, they’re much more likely to be invested in their training. This can be the outcome of higher wage or even a better position within the company. In some ways, this is dangling the carrot. You offer a potential reward, and they’ll do the work to try and achieve what they need to achieve in order to get that reward. Beware of making promises you cannot keep, as there’s nothing more demotivating than a broken promise.

4. Multiple formats

The advances in eLearning have been dramatic over the last few years. With sources such as Lynda.com and more, there has never been a better time to offer eLearning for your employees, which provides further training without breaking the bank. Combine this with a BYOD (bring your own device) or a working from home option, and you’ve got a compelling mix of learning and flexibility that will appeal to many people. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t offer in-house, in-person training too. There is still a lot of value to be gained from learning from each other one-on-one or in a small classroom environment.

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5. Bake training into the culture

An excellent way to get your employees to respond to training is to make it a part of your company culture. This doesn’t mean superficially offering training or forcing unwanted or unnecessary training onto your employees; it means encouraging people to learn from each other, to make learning a priority and not a secondary act. Have a centralized knowledge base, one that is actively maintained and contributed to. Encourage discussion. Make problem-solving and helping a virtue in your company, not a taboo. Encourage questions, allow people’s curiosity to flow, and ask people to punch holes in ideas. This takes everyone to buy-in if it is to succeed. It’s not a one-off trick and it’s got to start at the very top.

6. Recognize experts when you have them

Sometimes you’ll be fortunate enough to have an expert on your team. No matter what they’re an expert in, an expert is always a great asset for a company – when their expertise are used correctly. There are many ways to utilize expert knowledge within your company, but simply recognizing when someone is excellent at something and having that information be known to the rest of your company, is a great way to start. They could hold a small discussion or a classroom style meeting. They could present some of their knowledge to the people who are most interested and in need of their expertise – the list goes on. Regardless of how your company uses this expert, merely recognizing this person will provide a boost in morale to everyone.

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7. Rewards

The final idea on the list appeals to our most basic human selves: a reward for doing something good. Everyone enjoys a pat on the back now and then and a pat on the back with a gift card or dinner at a nice restaurant or a trip to a sporting event are all simple ways to reward someone for their hard work. These are best presented at milestones, big or small, and are an excellent way to affirm your employee for the job they’re doing positively.

Let’s get training for 2017!

Featured photo credit: Startup Stock Photos via stocksnap.io

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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

Office politics – a taboo word for some people. It’s a pervasive thing at the workplace.

In its simplest form, workplace politics is simply about the differences between people at work; differences in opinions, conflicts of interests are often manifested as office politics. It all goes down to human communications and relationships.

There is no need to be afraid of office politics. Top performers are those who have mastered the art of winning in office politics. Below are 7 good habits to help you win at the workplace:

1. Be Aware You Have a Choice

The most common reactions to politics at work are either fight or flight. It’s normal human reaction for survival in the wild, back in the prehistoric days when we were still hunter-gatherers.

Sure, the office is a modern jungle, but it takes more than just instinctive reactions to win in office politics. Instinctive fight reactions will only cause more resistance to whatever you are trying to achieve; while instinctive flight reactions only label you as a pushover that people can easily take for granted. Neither options are appealing for healthy career growth.

Winning requires you to consciously choose your reactions to the situation. Recognize that no matter how bad the circumstances, you have a choice in choosing how you feel and react. So how do you choose? This bring us to the next point…

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2. Know What You Are Trying to Achieve

When conflicts happen, it’s very easy to be sucked into tunnel-vision and focus on immediate differences. That’s a self-defeating approach. Chances are, you’ll only invite more resistance by focusing on differences in people’s positions or opinions.

The way to mitigate this without looking like you’re fighting to emerge as a winner in this conflict is to focus on the business objectives. In the light of what’s best for the business, discuss the pros and cons of each option. Eventually, everyone wants the business to be successful; if the business don’t win, then nobody in the organization wins.

It’s much easier for one to eat the humble pie and back off when they realize the chosen approach is best for the business.

By learning to steer the discussion in this direction, you will learn to disengage from petty differences and position yourself as someone who is interested in getting things done. Your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is mature, strategic and can be entrusted with bigger responsibilities.

3. Focus on Your Circle of Influence

At work, there are often issues which we have very little control over. It’s not uncommon to find corporate policies, client demands or boss mandates which affects your personal interests.

Gossiping and complaining are common responses to these events that we cannot control. But think about it, other than that short term emotional outlet, what tangible results do gossiping really accomplish? In most instances, none.

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Instead of feeling victimized and angry about the situation, focus on the things that you can do to influence the situation — your circle of influence. This is a very empowering technique to overcome the feeling of helplessness. It removes the victimized feeling and also allows others to see you as someone who knows how to operate within given constraints.

You may not be able to change or decide on the eventual outcome but, you can walk away knowing that you have done the best within the given circumstances.

Constraints are all around in the workplace; with this approach, your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is understanding and positive.

4. Don’t Take Sides

In office politics, it is possible to find yourself stuck in between two power figures who are at odds with each other. You find yourself being thrown around while they try to outwit each other and defend their own position; all at the expense of you getting the job done. You can’t get them to agree on a common decision for a project, and neither of them want to take ownership of issues; they’re too afraid they’ll get stabbed in the back for any mishaps.

In cases like this, focus on the business objectives and don’t take side with either of them – even if you like one better than the other. Place them on a common communication platform and ensure open communications among all parties, so that no one can claim “I didn’t say that”.

By not taking sides, you’ll help to direct conflict resolution in an objective manner. You’ll also build trust with both parties. That’ll help to keep the engagements constructive and focus on business objectives.

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5. Don’t Get Personal

In office politics, you’ll get angry with people. It happens. There will be times when you feel the urge to give that person a piece of your mind and teach him a lesson. Don’t.

People tend to remember moments when they were humiliated or insulted. Even if you win this argument and get to feel really good about it for now, you’ll pay the price later when you need help from this person. What goes around comes around, especially at the workplace.

To win in the office, you’ll want to build a network of allies which you can tap into. The last thing you want during a crisis or an opportunity is to have someone screw you up because they harbor ill-intentions towards you – all because you’d enjoyed a brief moment of emotional outburst at their expense.

Another reason to hold back your temper is your career advancement. Increasingly, organizations are using 360 degree reviews to promote someone. Even if you are a star performer, your boss will have to fight a political uphill battle if other managers or peers see you as someone who is difficult to work with. The last thing you’ll want is to make it difficult for your boss to champion you for a promotion.

6. Seek to Understand, Before Being Understood

The reason people feel unjustified is because they felt misunderstood. Instinctively, we are more interested in getting the others to understand us than to understand them first. Top people managers and business leaders have learned to suppress this urge.

Surprisingly, seeking to understand is a very disarming technique. Once the other party feels that you understand where he/she is coming from, they will feel less defensive and be open to understand you in return. This sets the stage for open communications to arrive at a solution that both parties can accept.

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Trying to arrive at a solution without first having this understanding is very difficult – there’s little trust and too much second-guessing.

7. Think Win-Win

As mentioned upfront, political conflicts happen because of conflicting interests. Perhaps due to our schooling, we are taught that to win, someone else needs to lose. Conversely, we are afraid to let someone else win, because it implies losing for us.

In business and work, that doesn’t have to be the case.

Learn to think in terms of “how can we both win out of this situation?” This requires that you first understand the other party’s perspective and what’s in it for him.

Next, understand what’s in it for you. Strive to seek out a resolution that is acceptable and beneficial to both parties. Doing this will ensure that everyone truly commit to the agreed resolution and will not pay only lip-service to it.

People simply don’t like to lose. You may get away with win-lose tactics once or twice but very soon, you’ll find yourself without allies in the workplace.

Thinking win-win is an enduring strategy that builds allies and help you win in the long term.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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