Employee training and development is important for upskilling your employees, making them better at their jobs, and driving retention.
It doesn’t have to come in the form of a sit-down class like we’re back at school, though. Shudder.
Not everyone learns that way. And the longer someone must sit still in a training session like that, the less likely they are to pay attention or remember anything that was covered.
There are plenty of ways to make employee training and development engaging, interactive, and maybe even fun. No matter what industry you and your employees are in.
Here are some ways to help your employees grow their skills in 2023:
Books are great because they allow us to learn at our own pace and refer to information easily.
We can read them on an e-reader with a backlight; on our phones while we’re traveling; or as a physical copy. And we can annotate them or highlight passages that are interesting or relevant to us in any of these forms.
If you’ve got a Kindle, for example, it can sync with Goodreads and remember your highlighted passages.
However, as an author and avid reader, one of my pet peeves is book recommendations. Most people explain why they liked the book, not what the person they’re talking to could get out of reading it.
So, before you recommend a book, consider:
- What skills the other person could learn
- How it relates to their current or future role
- The book’s writing style—is it chatty and fast-paced? Or is it formal and academic? Which would they prefer?
- Length—is it a quick read or does it take time to digest? Do they have the time or patience for something longer/heavier?
Different types of books appeal to different people. Just because you found something game-changing, that doesn’t mean everyone else will.
As part of this, you could put together a book club. But beware that everyone reads at different paces and people who enjoy reading for fun may prefer to learn by other means.
Even for avid nonfiction readers like myself, something like a book club can turn a fun hobby into a chore if it’s not done right. Solicit input from team members to help you effectively incorporate books into your employee training and development program.
Emails and downloadable guides
Emails are great for drip-feeding information. This makes them a useful tool for employee training and development.
They take a few minutes to read, then the recipient can carry on with their day. Then the next training comes the following day or week, and so on.
Downloadable guides, meanwhile, are a longer version of this. They’re often used as sales lead magnets, but they can also be used internally for employee training and development.
Remember those personality quizzes that used to be in magazines and were strangely addictive? The ones that are still all over Buzzfeed and other corners of the internet?
Just me? Okay…
Well, less personality-focused, more fact-based quizzes, are a fun, engaging way to help employees learn and retain information.
And when you combine them with my next point, the lessons become more memorable because employees can see what they need to do.
Listening to someone talk about what to do or not do can get tedious quickly. Relatable examples help employees visualize what they’re trying to learn.
This could come in the form of perfect examples, or not-so-perfect examples.
In a group environment, you could discuss why something works or doesn’t work, encouraging participation so that employees can share their trains of thought and understand what’s needed for the skills they’re trying to learn.
This can also support employee training and development around soft skills, like analysis and feedback, alongside the skill they’re actively trying to build.
Live webinars and workshops
There’s something magical about a live workshop. Everyone’s working together on the same thing, at the same time, making a concentrated effort to better themselves in one area. The engagement can be contagious, too.
A webinar being live can also mean that the employee is more likely to carve out specific time to take part because they know exactly when it’s going to happen and can work the rest of their day around it, rather than working their employee training and development around everything else.
Think of virtual summits like an all-day version of a live webinar.
If employees can’t travel to an event in-person, they offer an opportunity for them to grow their skills from the comfort of their own desk.
Some are free to watch live, with replays available for 24 hours. After that, there’s a fee.
Summits often focus on one area, and they sometimes also include virtual networking. This means employee can grow their skills and get to know useful industry contacts for later.
Employee groups help connect employees with similar interests. This makes them powerful for someone looking to expand their skills. They don’t need to search for external trainers—they’ve got a readymade group of people they can go to for answers!
If no group exists for their area of interest, they could create it, and invite others who share that interest to take part.
If it’s a valuable workplace skill, there are bound to be others within your business who want to learn it too. Bottom up efforts like these can be an important part of your employee training and development program.
Mentoring and coaching
Mentoring and coaching programs can provide employees with specific, guided, hands-on tutelage.
This can grow their skills faster because it’s concentrated on what they need, rather than the more generalized approach group programs must take so that they can cater to as many people as possible.
A change of scenery is good for creativity and happiness. It can break someone out of a funk and help them solve a problem that’s been bugging them for weeks.
Work trips and conferences allow employees to fully immerse themselves in the atmosphere of the event.
It opens up new conversations, generating ideas employees never would’ve come up with otherwise.
Doing something vaguely related—or completely unrelated—to your job can be surprisingly good for deep thinking. I often get content ideas while exercising, for example, but I rarely write about actual exercise.
You could join the ranks of businesses who give their employees time each year to work with a good cause. This could be a local school, a food bank, or something else.
This will reflect well on you as a business, boost employee morale, and can improve skills like teamwork, leadership, and communication—all vital skills in any workplace. Paid volunteering is an opportunity to do well by doing good, and can do wonders from an employee training and development standpoint.
Everyone learns in different ways. To get the most out of your team members, you want to find employee training and development strategies that equip them to retain and act on their learnings.
You can do this by simply asking them what they’d like the most. They’ll feel like their opinions and differences are valued, and something you’re willing to take into account.
Getting employee training and development right isn’t just about putting programs in place, though. You also have to make it easy for team members to get involved, and track the effectiveness of your initiatives over time. This can be tough if your employee training and development efforts are spread across a variety of platforms and systems.
Luckily, Workrowd can help. With a central hub for all your employee groups, programs, and events, team members can join in with just one click, and real-time analytics make it easy to track your impact. If you’d like to explore how our user-friendly tool suite can support your employee training and development efforts, send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to accelerate learning outcomes for your team in 2023.