The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the working world. As many employees have transitioned to permanent remote work conditions, business organizations must adapt to the new status quo. One area of business operations that must change is employee training.
Whether you are conducting onboarding training for new hires or new software training for employees, effective training has to adapt and conform to the new digital workplace.
As more and more companies start to adapt to having decentralized workforces, there is an increasing need to roll out software that enables a thriving remote work environment. More on that later.
At the same time, conventional training methods of the past (circa 2019 and prior) weren’t exactly shining models of educational instruction.
Organizations spent $359 billion globally on training in 2016, but was it worth it?
Not when you consider the following:
- Only 25% of respondents to a recent McKinsey survey believe that training measurably improved performance.
- 70% of employees report that they don’t have mastery of the skills needed to do their jobs.
- The average employee spends up to 1.8 hours per day just searching for the basic information needed to do their job.
- Senior team members waste hours going over basic company and software procedures again and again.
- 61% of employees prefer to learn at the point of need
- $6,000 in costs are incurred for each employee every year because of software misuse
We quickly forget what we’ve learned.
Another training fail…we forget. German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus pioneered experimental studies of memory in the late 19th Century, culminating with his discovery of “The Forgetting Curve.” He found that if new information isn’t applied, we will forget about 75% of it after just six days.
There must be a better way, right?
8 Tips for Effective Business Training
Training should be driven from the top downward.
The best results achieved in training happen when the C-suite and mid-level management all buy into the importance setting teams up for success through effective training.
Leadership should prioritize the time and resources to make sure the training is comprehensive and well-received. They should participate in the training and support all aspects of the process.
One of the biggest mistakes companies make when implementing new programs, procedures, or technologies is expecting that employees absorbed 100% of the training and do not have programs in place for continual learning or easy access to empower themselves. The result of this is predictable: employees will put off what they may not know for as long as they can in favor of doing work, they already have in front of them.
Start with why.
Business leader Simon Sinek teaches in his golden circle theory of value proposition that we need to formulate our business initiatives and strategy by defining and explaining the ‘WHY.’ Sinek’s theory is that communicating ‘Why’ taps into the part of the listener’s brain that influences behavior.
Some issues employees who will be trained need to be made aware of:
- WHY are you making this change that requires training?
- WHAT are you trying to achieve with this change?
- WHO are you introducing this change to?
Top leaders in the organization need to take the time to help employees understand why this new software is of benefit to them, how it will make their work easier and less stressful, how it will help eliminate boring and repetitive tasks, and how it will free up their time to concentrate on more important concerns.
However, do not just describe the value of new software in terms of company benefits (such as saving costs, etc.). Employees need to know what is in it for them. How will it make them happy? How will it make them less frustrated? Humans are emotional, so any explanation should be connected to emotions.
Trainers need to know their stuff.
It should be a no-brainer that business trainers should be proficient and informed in the subject matter they are approved to teach. Part of a successful training plan is that the trainers themselves need to be experts before they develop the programs. Just as important, trainers should find ways to make training sessions engaging. Show the true value of the software – not just how to use it.
Set clear and realistic training deadlines and rollout methods.
Employees need to be briefed on training requirements and they should know what to expect. An integral part of getting employees to adopt new software is to demonstrate respect for their time and busy schedules.
For example, if you are phasing in new sales software, consider providing sales execs with a link and ask them to do a demo trial run before the next staff meeting. You can encourage them to bring any questions or concerns that arise to that meeting, and then incorporate those into the next phase of training.
A big part of overcoming change friction and employee pushback is letting them see what’s coming and then giving them time and space to process the change. This gives a sense of ownership which critical in not only engaging with the new software, but also the training programs, and increasing user adoption.
Does this mean a rollout of new technology will take longer? Maybe. But it also means that employees will be more willing to commit to the new software training because they feel supported in the learning process.
Use training incentives to improve participation, motivation, and adoption.
Training incentives, used selectively with high-quality rewards, can be effective. Gift cards, paid time off, and points for gift redemption, are examples of rewards that engage and motivate trainees. It will help if you understand what will appeal to the employees you are trying to train. For others, the incentives can be as simple as an acknowledgment of achievement, a positive comment, or verbal recognition that highlights their dedication.
Still more incentives for training can be an extended lunch hour or break, ending training a couple of hours early on a Friday, and letting employees go home for the day. Consider catering meals like breakfast and lunch as a dual benefit of reward and keeping employees onsite. Whatever you choose, the goal of training incentives is not only to get employees trained but to also recognize their efforts in the process.
Invoke the 80/20 rule.
One of the fastest and easiest ways to learn a foreign language is to learn and commit to memory the 1,000 most commonly used words in that language and not to sweat the remaining words. Why? Because when you understand 1000 common words, you will be able to understand around 75% of a normal daily conversation.
This is essentially the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, in action. The 80/20 rule states that for many outcomes, roughly 80% of consequences come from 20% of causes. So if you focus your training on the 20% of the most used and most important concepts, users will start swimming on their own.
Keeping trainees awake.
The US Army has conducted a myriad of studies on alertness. For example, it is vitally important that a guard on duty stays awake and alert to not compromise personal safety, the safety of their troops, the mission’s success, and even national security.
In one study aimed at determining an ideal caffeine dosage and timing for alertness, they learned when and how much caffeine a subject should consume, while improving alertness by up to 64 percent.
If you take the security element out of the analogy, the point still stands – understand the limits. Like employee classroom learning should not be an all-day event. Instead, employees would benefit from micro-courses with bite-sized learning opportunities, which can take the form of digestible, hour-long courses on topics of relevance to an employee’s immediate challenges or opportunities.
Leverage guided learning for the ideal training environment.
We’ve saved the best for last. Sitting in a classroom does not make for ideal training. In most cases, lecture-based, hours-long training is not effective in helping employees develop their new skills. One study of a four-day, eight-hour ergonomics course found that although participants picked up theoretical knowledge, their practical application of that knowledge was not effective. Nor do hours of 1-on-1 training sitting next to a mentor for the day.
Live User Application Training
What does work, and exceptionally so, is live user application training. Training sessions can be helpful for high-level introductory training. However, if you recall the statistic above, only 25% is retained. With relevant information embedded directly into the user’s software – training or guidance can be ongoing and in real-time.
With software like OnScreen, employees can engage in more advanced and efficient methods of training, instantly learning as they go use the software. OnScreen, a Digital Adoption Platform, gives subject matter experts and trainers the ability to provide training where and when the user needs help. Guided learning embeds continuous learning into a live application for employee onboarding, cross-functional teams, IT training, and end-user training.
OnScreen Training: Turning Your People into Super Software Users
Onscreen improves software user adoption and existing training methods to establish a digital workplace of the future. At OnScreen, our mission is to enable employees to understand and use the software they need for their everyday job.
Improved User Productivity
Reduce training costs and inefficiency with OnScreen. Users will get more done in less time, leading to faster launch times, improved success rates, and more engaged employees.
Customize training so that it is relevant to the user based on their team, job functions, or business processes that are regularly executed.
Remote Worker Powered
Many employees might also be in the field or remote, with OnScreen, it’s like having a trainer or assistance wherever they are.
Complex & Seasonal Processes
Realize a reduction of up to 50% from the support and training time required after go-live for complex processes
Lower Staff Turnover
50% of the current workforce is disengaged. OnScreen reduces employee turnover and engages employees with smarter technology.
Meet complex regulatory requirements both internal and legal through better training.
New Projects and Frequent Changes
Stay on top of the complex needs that surface following new projects and frequent changes in your systems.
Highly Customized Systems
Implement a system that allows for rapid iteration and onboarding around highly customized processes.
Users will spend less time looking for information and more time completing tasks, increasing efficiency.
Reduce inaccurate data through detailed guides that can provide specific information or details at the point of need.
High User Adoption Yields Successful Digital Transformation
84% of companies fail at Digital Transformation. Be among the 16% that succeed by prioritizing user adoption and more streamlined training and onboarding processes.
Get Users Up to Speed Fast Without Additional Outside Training
On or offsite training and certifications have their place & importance. But when it comes to ongoing, continuous training that is adaptive and easily updated – why spend the extra time simply trying to remember or relearn what you may have already forgotten at a point where you may be stuck? With Onscreen – you can have your certifications, and up to date training too.