Training and development is the lifeblood of any thriving company. After all, as the fantastic DreamWorks animation How to Train Your Dragon taught us, you can only really leverage the firepower of your mythical beast (read: highly engaged team members) if you know what makes it tick, and give it what it needs to use its epic powers for good.
Engagement is an innate quality in a well-placed employee, but good employers also know that they are able to set the scene for this inherent motivation to flourish on their watch. One way to do so is by providing ongoing training and development opportunities.
However, not all T&D initiatives are created equal. Some are poorly designed, or add more to-do's to a team's list without sufficient payout. As such, there are certain important pitfalls to avoid.
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Here are five ways to ensure that your training and development approach contributes to engagement at your company:
- Take time to do a proper front-end analysis
Depending on the nature of your business and the scope of your team, you likely get frequent requests for training programs and courses from managers and employees alike. Good employees like to get ahead, and they know that further training is a good way of gaining traction in their career.
However, if your company is going to benefit from the T&D, you need to weigh your options carefully when it comes to the type of courses available, as well as the providers thereof. Take some time to see what's out there, and whether it might be worth your while to develop a course yourself, based on the particular needs of your company.
- Set clear goals and KPIs
To ensure that T&D is being driven in an effective manner that contributes to the wellbeing and efficiency of your team, start by setting clear goals and identifying KPIs before you even start. This way you'll have a solid yardstick against which to measure progress.
Not every training and development initiative your business undertakes will be equally effective, but when you know what you're measuring and what you want to achieve, it will be far simpler to separate the wheat from the chaff and build towards programs that always hit the mark.
- Invest in versatile learning platforms
Every person on your team is a unique individual. Even if two or more people are employed to do the same job, they come to your business at different levels of expertise and with different skills in their arsenal. Every person also learns differently, and needs support in different areas.
As such, it's always wise to invest in a learning platform that can accommodate a variety of experience levels and training gaps. Recognising that employees have differing learning styles and strengths should also help your management team to provide better guidance at the hand of your KPIs.
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- Choose (and train!) your trainers with care
No matter how great someone may be at their job, their expertise alone will not necessarily make them a good trainer. Passing along knowledge is one thing, but offering training in a compelling and inspiring way is a completely different ballgame, even if the whole thing is taking place via Zoom.
If you plan to use someone from your existing team to facilitate in-house training, rather than hiring a professional to do so, be sure to, a) choose the right person, and b) give them the proper guidance on making their knowledge accessible to their audience.
Some truly awesome employees may be too nervous to lead a group in training, or may even just not be completely into the idea of sacrificing time, quotas or commission to pass on their knowledge. So choose with care.
Once you've identified the ideal candidate, onboard them effectively into their training role by giving them some insight into effective training methods and learning styles. Also ensure that they are comfortable with the tech they'd need to use before they jump in.
- Make the business case for ongoing T&D
When times are tough and funds are few, many business owners and managers may be wary of putting aside a portion of their very tight budget to go towards training and development. This is especially true in the current economic climate, in which many enterprises are still struggling to find their feet after the devastating effects ongoing lock-down measures had on consumer spending, etc.
As such, it’s more important than ever to come to C-suite prepared to make the business case for programs like these. Data sells. If you are able to start small and show the decision-makers in your company that a microlearning initiative had a direct impact on the productivity and engagement levels of your team, they will be far more likely to invest in more extensive programs in future.
In short, start small and make the effort to track your progress at the hand of clear data points that will make it clear how much the entire company stands to benefit when its people are more motivated and better equipped.
There you have it - five ways to ensure that training and development contributes to employee engagement at your company. Check back soon for more insider insights and helpful advice on supercharging your HR directives from the inside out.
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