Building effective employee training plans and programs is an individualized process. There are students who love to learn from video, while others want a book to highlight. Training someone to have mad skills on projects they avoid will not make them more excited, though you can train people to be more efficient.
Find the Desire
If someone asks for training on something that is outside their employment scope, find out why. Are they constantly struggling to manage a project that is beyond their job description, or do they have a real desire to learn the background structure of their job?
The mail clerk doesn’t have to know how to run a mail merge, but they know what doesn’t work. The CFO probably knows how to print to PDF, but they don’t know how to design a document. If they have a deep desire to know, even if those tasks are already someone else’s job, getting the dedicated learner to see the task from another angle could be training money well spent.
Use the Natural Teachers in Your Organization
There are many skilled people in the world with no group teaching skills whatsoever, but they may be terrific one on one. If you schedule a group CPE or other form of training and assign them something to present to the group, they will do it because they are a professional. They will be unhappy about the task and may be uncomfortable in the presentation. Worse, they may not come across effectively.
Put these folks on teach teams. Pair them with an employee who is better in front of a group, and bring in the one-on-one teacher to demonstrate on-screen examples. The process of being stared at while presenting can be nightmarish. If your introverted staff have a great one on one teaching skills, give them the screen and the mouse.
Match the Learning Style
For some employees, the best way to learn is to
- make mistakes
- crash and burn
- rebuild and develop skills in the reconstruction
For those employees, innovative e-learning solutions such as pairings of video and virtual reality may be the fastest way to park the ability in their memory banks for all time.
Others may want to learn from an outline, going from point to point until they really get it and can build the next one on their own. No matter the style, one of the biggest wastes of your resources is to try to change a learning style. It will create resentment and may damage relationships.
Don’t Mix Up Knowledge with Authority
Make sure that all of your staff members are confident in teaching new hires. Organizations that are excessively hierarchical set up new employees in leadership positions to struggle.
If a new manager doesn’t know how to send a project through to the proofreading admin, the admin should be able to go back and teach them the process. While this seems perfectly normal in a non-hierarchical organization, there are structures that promote limited communication by limiting which employees can tell other employees what to do.
In these organizations, it becomes critical to growing your own leadership from within. If you don’t, your new manager may
- be unsure of what to do, wasting time
- get frustrated because their projects don’t get handled effectively, wasting blood pressure points
- deal with unhappy support staff on a regular basis, wasting emotional currency
If your organization has a hard time maintaining managers from outside, make sure you include a mentoring or buddy program for those new leaders so they can learn the ropes of day to day work routine. A couple of days or weeks with a buddy to shadow may be enough to get your new manager off on the right foot and save the expense of hiring another.
Everyone learns in their own way. The more people you stick in a training room to take the same course, the less effective your training dollars will be. While it may be a good idea to get everyone together for an introduction to new software or project, you will need to start individualized training as soon as possible to get your people learning effectively.