How to Make Workplace Training More Effective in the New Year

The face of training is changing. With an increase in virtual meeting options, it’s a challenge to achieve full attendance and participation—which makes training more difficult than it should be. How can you make sure that you are establishing an effective training system that your business and employees will benefit from?

For insight into this topic, we turned to Amanda Basse, a Marketing Counselor at the RISBDC, to help navigate training in the new year.

How has the pandemic challenged old strategies for training and professional development?

These days, everyone does things differently. Some businesses refuse to go virtual, while others have all their training done online.

The old systems businesses used were significantly disrupted because of COVID. Before the pandemic, we had already seen how personalized training and technology were disrupting professional development. COVID forced many businesses to adapt at a pace they were uncomfortable with.

Now that there aren’t training sessions to physically attend, these professional development training sessions are expected to be completed off the clock. Zoom fatigue is leading to burnout in employees who feel the need to be accessible around the clock, prompting businesses to incorporate mental health training and resources to balance the overwhelm many employees feel.

How can businesses improve their training process?

1. Shorten training sessions

Long training sessions are proving to be less valuable than shorter, bite-size pieces of information. Working from home has led to an “always-on” mentality and, as a result, has transformed the way employees engage with training in every format. Many see these training sessions as a box to check in order to continue doing their job.

With decreasing attention spans, many prefer the facilitator to get straight to the point and tell them what they need to do in order to best do their jobs. Ongoing, relevant training will replace long training sessions spanned over several days. Micro-training is the future of employee training.

2. Talk to your employees

Talk to your employees. Map out exactly what it is you’re expecting from employees and ask for their feedback. Sit down with your employees and figure out what you need and how to get this info out to people. Baby steps help make the process not as big and overwhelming. Do employee evaluations or informally figure out what skills are needed. To get new ideas for training, survey your team about what they need and what opportunities they see to make their work more efficient or easier.

3. Gamify learning

The outdated training videos from the 90s can lead an employee to believe you are out of touch and unable to be relatable in current times. The best way to increase training engagement is to “gamify” learning, which requires participants to collaborate and encourage play. Yes, play! Gamified learning involves using game-based elements, like point scoring, leaderboards, and teamwork, to maximize a learner’s engagement and interest. An example of gamified learning can be seen in McDonald’s till-training game.

What is the biggest benefit to creating a new, more effective training system?

We understand that it can be a big step to overhaul your training process, but, as with most efforts, there are some compelling silver linings. The greatest benefit for many businesses is that virtual training can significantly cut costs. Business owners no longer have the expense of renting space, providing food and drinks, and reimbursing travel expenses. Now, training modules can be accessed at any time and business owners can still track who completed it.

It takes a commitment of time, energy, and creativity to create the perfect training plan, but small changes now will make a big impact for your business over time.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and aren’t sure where to start, check out the RISBDC’s online trainings for a wide variety of businesses and topics to help shape your workplace training in 2022.