By Rachel Niebeling, CRP, E Group, Inc.
Professional. Development. Training. The mere thought can strike boredom in even the most academic of hearts.
“61% of workers said their employers are providing upskilling opportunities in the technical and soft skills of the future, only 50% said their employers provide career development opportunities that meet their needs and chances for advancement. (Access Perks)”
Companies who boast engaged workers outperform those without engaged workers by 202%, according to a Dale Carnegie study. Clearly, training and learning opportunities at work are a pretty important factor. So how do we help cure the workforce of the “snoozefest” stigma associated with training? How can we possibly make professional training more exciting?
Fear not, training managers! Below, we share with you our proven tips to make professional training more exciting, thus driving employee engagement.
- Provide Variety
Personalities learn and engage differently. With modern technology, it’s easy and affordable to offer a variety of training and learning opportunities at work. For example, a webinar led by a subject matter expert (SME) can be offered live for groups and individuals, and then can be archived for a self-paced learning experience later.
- Offer Clarity
Learners need clear learning objectives shared prior to registration. This helps individuals decide if the topic is truly interesting or useful, as well as focused on specific learning objectives. Clarity also keeps presenters on track.
- Have a Good Team
In order to make professional training exciting, you must deploy a team effort. You also must have the right team. GovLoop, a resource for public sector professionals, has put on hundreds of online trainings. They suggest having a moderator, an SME and backend support. It’s important to have an SME that’s a good facilitator who keeps the topic interesting. Humor and plain language are great tools!
- Facilitate Engagement in Training
It’s important to create an emotional connection with the learner. Storytelling is a great way to facilitate engagement in training. Case studies are a great way to tell a story and show impact.
Gamification is a #buzzword. There’s a reason the Twitterverse is abuzz with gamification… It works! There are many strategies to implement gamification, and it’s proven to work. Ask your current platform provider about their capability for gamification.
- Make it Interactive
If gamification isn’t in the cards, find other ways to make professional training exciting. In an online training, try weaving in poll questions and sharing the results immediately. In a live training, call on people from the crowd. Also, always make sure to leave time for Q&A. Finally, get rid of the text heavy slides and add some graphics.
- Reduce the Time
No one wants to sit through a full day of training, especially online. If you need more than an hour, break it down into shorter sessions and offer breaks. Make sure to leave 10-15 minutes in between each section.
- Make the Connection
Make a connection between each training and job performance. Provide context and relevancy by choosing the right content. Employees need to know what to do after the training and how to connect it with their role. It’s important to define and communicate expectations and objectives.
- Get Managers Onboard
In order to make the connection, manager support and participation is critical. According to a BizLibrary infographic, 49% of disengaged employees are due to problems with direct supervisors. Managers can support learning by encouraging participation and setting a good example. Managers should also seek results from trainings and give recognition.
- Community and recognition
Use social and collaboration tools to build company culture around training. Social tools can help with relationship building, enhance information flow and promote the sharing of ideas. They also provide a platform for recognition both peer-to-peer and manager-to-employee.
Bonus: Follow up for learning effectiveness. The best training in the world will be wasted if there is no follow up. Follow up with tip #8, make a connection with employee objectives.
Keep up the good work, training managers! Now that you have a few additional tricks to increase engagement during trainings, you can decide which ones to try during your training sessions.
About The Author
Rachel Niebeling, CRP, is Sr. Director, Training, Rewards & Engagement with E Group. She is dedicated to building best practice engagement programs and has a passion for making your work day better.