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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 November 19, 2018

How to Find a Suitable Professional Mentor

How to Find a Suitable Professional Mentor

I went through a personal experience that acted as a catalyst for an epiphany. When I got fired from a job, I learned something important about myself and where I was headed with my freelance career. I realized that the most important aspect of that one rather small job was the influence of the company owner. I realized that I wasn’t hurt that the company and I weren’t a perfect match; I was devastated by the stark fact that I needed a mentor and I had almost found one but lost her.

Suddenly, I felt like J.D., the main character in “Scrubs,” chasing Dr. Cox and trying to rip insight and wisdom from someone I respect. The realization that a recognized thought-leader and experienced entrepreneur severed ties with me felt crushing. But, I picked myself back up and thought about five ways to acquire a mentor without having the awkwardness of outright asking.

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1. Remember, a professional mentorship must be mutual.

A professional mentor must agree to engage in a mutual relationship because, as the comedy T.V. series showed us, one simply cannot force someone to tutor us. We have to prove that we are worth the time investment through persistence and dedication to the craft.

2. You have to have common interests with your mentor.

Even if a professional mentor appears at your job or school, realize that unless you and this person have common interests, you won’t find the relationship successful. I’ve been in situations where someone I respected had vastly different ideas about what was important in life or what one should spend his or her free time doing. If these things don’t line up, you may find the relationship won’t be as fruitful, even when the mentor knows a great deal about one industry.

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3. Thought-leaders will respect your passion.

One of the ways you can prove yourself worthy to a professional mentor is through your passion and your dedication. No one wants to spend time grooming and teaching another who will not take advice or put the effort in to improve. When following thought-leaders on Twitter and trying to engage with higher-ups in a work setting, realize that your actions most often speak louder than your words.

4. Before worrying if he respects you, ask if you respect him.

On the other side of the coin, you should seriously reflect on those common interests and make sure you respect your professional mentor. Just because someone holds a title, degree or office does not mean that person is trustworthy or honest. Don’t be swayed by appearances and take the time to find a suitable professional mentor.

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5. Failure is often the best way to learn

I honestly have made more mistakes than I can count. I know I’ve learned a great deal from poorly organized businesses and my own poor choices. The most important quality I’ve developed is an ability to swallow my pride and learn from my mistakes. If life knocks me down nine times, I get back up 10 times. One of the songs Megadeth wrote, “Of Mice and Men,” resonates in my mind when I pull myself up by my bootstraps and try again for a goal I’ve set: “So live your life and live it well. There’s not much left of me to tell. I just got back up each time I fell.” Hopefully, this brief post can act as a professional mentor to you in your quest to find not only a brave leader but also a trusted adviser.

Featured photo credit: morguefile via mrg.bz

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