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4 Ways to Make Online Training More Effective for Staff
4 Ways to Make Online Training More Effective for Staff
Monday, 5th October 2020 ThinkSmart Software

Staff training is one of the most effective ways to retain talent. Pareto Law, a company in the UK, surveyed recent graduates and found that "they valued progression and training above remuneration." Other research indicates the same thing. The Australian Institute of Management Education and Training as a reason to leave their current job.

Of course, these statistics don't just apply to large companies. Small businesses - especially those who deal with knowledge - need to train staff continuously in new techniques and ideas. For example, while the core fundamentals of guitar never change, the music, procedures, and lesson concepts do. If the teacher feels like they are stagnating and becoming unemployable at another studio, they'll quickly start looking elsewhere.

Training is essential. However, just sending people to classes isn't enough. The lessons and material must be engaging and informative for people to retain information. It must be engaging whether the training comes from the outside (e.g. a class elsewhere) or from the inside (e.g. you showing a new technique to staff internally). Here are four ways to make training more useful and engaging for staff, thereby leading to higher retention rates!

Make Sure it Aligns With Career Goals and Interests

The first and most substantial way to ensure that staff love the training is to make sure that it aligns with career goals. Whether you're training your team over the internet on new techniques or procedures, or they're taking training elsewhere, if it doesn't align with their career objectives, they're not going to be as responsive to it.

For example, if you have a dance studio and you send one of your instructors to learn marketing, that's not going to help them out very much. Marketing is an excellent skill to have, but knowing it won't help them very much with their day-to-day job (unless, of course, they open a dance studio of their own). Learning marketing won't help your instructors deliver a better experience for their clients!

However, that's not to say that gaining knowledge in other subject areas can't be a perk of the job. Many people love learning about different subjects. Indeed, your dance instructors might appreciate the ability to learn more about the business side of the studio. In these cases, consider sending your marketing specialist to the training session and having them hold an internal training session to disseminate their newfound knowledge in a more structured manner. That way, the people who benefit most from the training get the best experience, while those who are interested in it still feel that they have the opportunity to learn and grow in novel ways.

Have conversations with your staff and figure out the right type of online training for them. Of course, invite them to speak up about interests outside of the day-to-day job and see if there are any opportunities for internal training that could align with those interests.

Make it More Social

Whether the training is external or internal, there should be a social aspect to the training. In the online world in which we find ourselves, it's all too easy to open the laptop, set your mic to mute, and not pay attention to the meeting.

When people do this, they're not adequately mimicking the real-world. Staff training is often so practical because people come together in one room to see each other, talk with each other, and bond over this shared experience. There are opportunities for group sessions and for people to discuss the training during breaks with each other.

Unfortunately, much of the training online does not replicate this social aspect.

There are ways to make this experience better. You can ask people to turn their cameras on (but not necessarily force, if they're not comfortable). You can provide time and space for people to ask questions and discuss the concepts during the call. A professor in the study in the Australian Journal of Teacher Education said that one of the benefits of small groups is "to engage with the other people in your group, to pick up on ideas or insights that they might have." When you make your content more social, you provide those valuable touchpoints where your staff can learn and grow with each other!

This technique is valuable for outside training as well. Perhaps you all take a class and then schedule an hour call to discuss it. You can explore what was fantastic about the course, what you learned, and what other training would be beneficial.

Include Game-Based Learning

Friendly competition never hurt anyone. In your training, include some little games and other competitive elements to help people learn much more efficiently. The "game" can be as simple as tallying up points using a quiz, or it can be more complex like ‘Concentration’. If you want to make the training more fun, game-based learning will help you achieve that goal.

If you can afford to do so, add in a little prize at the end. Imagine telling the staff to do some training to learn a new teaching technique. After, you'll host a mini-trivia night on the subject with a few $5 gift cards as prizes. It might not be a lot of money, but you'll almost definitely notice people's interest in the training increases!

Ensure the Course is of Appropriate Difficulty

In an online environment where it's so easy to tune out and not listen, getting the right difficulty level is vital. If training is too challenging or too easy, people will tune out, and it will be a waste of time and money.

Before having staff engage in training, consider sending out a short survey or asking a few questions to gauge difficulty beforehand. For example, if you wanted staff to learn a little bit more about business, you might enquire as to what they know about an ABN (Australia Business Number) or how to calculate and remit GST. If the staff member has no clue, a beginner course might be the best option. If they know what to do, then you'll know the introductory beginner course is probably too elementary for them.

Train Your Staff to Retain Your Staff!

Staff training is vital. Giving staff the right levels of training activity is even more essential. By making sure it aligns with career goals and interests, making it more interactive (social and game-based approaches), and ensuring the course is of the right difficulty, you'll make your staff much happier with the time they invest in the training. In turn, you'll likely see a more pleased team that sticks longer with you.

Make your training more effective, improve retention rates, and boost the experiences for your customers, all with the right training. The right staff training can provide an extremely positive impact on your business.

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