As the speed of business increases and employees are required to adopt more sophisticated technology, effective training programs are more important than ever.
By defining business strategies and incorporating them appropriately into training curriculums, employers can be more effective in empowering and engaging employees.
Markus Schwarz, SVP and Global Head of SAP Education offers these five tips to effectively train employees:
- Adjust to how employees need to learn. One reason that traditional classroom learning methods are on the decline is that companies are realizing how everyone learns differently. In order to maximize the return on investment from employees, it is not only important to train them the way that they best process and retain information, but there must be the flexibility to train employees in different business units and in varying quantities. If forecasts call for the hiring of 10 new employees for the finance team and 25 in sales, are resources flexible enough to serve this need?
- Vary instructional delivery methods. As offices become more diverse and more flexible, employers must adjust to new situations where employees work from not only laptops and desktop computers, but also mobile devices. In-office trainings are still effective, but cloud-based and mobile-based solutions must also be offered so younger, remote and travel-prone staff will not fall behind the skills curve. With these offerings, employees can complete trainings late at night or in the airport terminal while waiting for a flight. Another reason to vary delivery methods is the cost of dispatching employees to off-site training locations; this can be prohibitive, so finding new ways to bring training to the learner instead of the other way around is important as well.
- Provide choices. Are your employees visual or audio learners? Do they prefer to read or actively work through examples? New technologies allow employers to provide new variations in instructional methods that help to serve these different types of learners and these must become cornerstones of education offerings. Giving an employee who prefers audio learning a packet to read is an inefficient allocation of capital. Whether employee prefers eLearning, in-context learning or some combination, it is essential that they are comfortable and getting the information they need in the most effective way possible.
- Enable interaction. Whether it’s watching TV or working on bi-coastal projects, employees do very little that is not social, and education offerings must reflect this. To keep them engaged, enable them to interact with their materials and learn with teams. This will help actively engage them with the information and foster team chemistry.
- Evaluate employee learning. Getting feedback on training programs is just as important as the offerings themselves. By understanding what needs improvement, companies can adapt programs for future success.
Markus cites surveys that show most companies have programs in place for employee training, but few executives believe their training programs are effective in preparing employees to drive business performance.
One report notes that 76 percent of users have a failed or sub-standard understanding of mission-critical applications (META Group). This is a startling level of disengagement with company processes, accounting for decreases in productivity, as well as growing frustration for both management and employees who feel their company doesn’t do enough to equip them to be successful. Effective training programs can help bridge that gap.
Knowledge leakage can have a deleterious effect on business productivity. Employees within teams need to be fully trained so that when one member leaves or transfers, knowledge of core tasks and processes remains within the team and business can continue unimpeded. It’s important to the ultimate success of any corporate training program that knowledge and skills are refreshed through continuous learning.