Generally speaking, training is an accepted and established part of a company's life. Without ongoing opportunities to build new skills, improve in areas of weakness, build teamwork and facilitate collaboration, your company's future viability can quickly become jeopardized.
But for most employees, "training day" brings groans and sighs instead of excitement. If this describes past trainings at your company, these five tips can transform training day from boring to fantastic!
Tip #1: Take your training out of the office.
If you think you know what your employees expect when training day rolls around again, surprise them with something new. Take a field trip together to the zoo and talk with the animal trainers about their job challenges. Enroll in a team-building course (escape games are all the rage right now but you have plenty of options). Cook a meal together and serve it at a local shelter.
What is most important is to identify in advance what you want your employees to learn during their shared time out of the office and be able to apply the lessons from that day to a variety of in-office scenarios moving forward. Even if you want to educate your employees how to use a new BPM software, or any kind of trainings that require a classroom setting, you can still make it fun without taking it out of the office.
Tip #2: Wrap in role play.
Whether your curriculum includes negotiations training or closing sales calls, you can create a huge shift when you move from lecture-style training into active involvement through role play.
There are many creative ways to accomplish this, including having employees pair up to play each role and then reverse, writing scripts you then have employees act out for a small group and discuss, hosting a debate on the best ways to achieve goals and more. The key is to get employees UP and OUT of their chairs and onto the floor to feel the impact of the training from head to toe.
Tip #3: Poll employees and find out what THEY want to learn!
Permitting your employees to take an active role in setting the curriculum, planning the training and anticipating the outcome can move the entire experience from a punitive one (i.e., "management is making me go to training") to a positive one ("on Thursday we get to learn about [this topic!]").
You may also discover in this process that your employees perceive their training needs differently than you do. They may even know better than you do what they most need to learn about and improve upon. But you will only find this out when you get the involved.
Tip #4: Train towards the future.
Just like you, your employees always keep one eye on the present and one eye on the future - especially when it comes to the progress (or lack thereof) of the national economy and your industry's place within it. So speak to that need by offering training in the types of skills that can enhance each employee's resume whether they remain with you or move on. Highlighting this universality of your training curriculum will effortlessly enhance employee enthusiasm, since they can see its value far into the future as well as in the present moment.
As a side benefit, if you do find yourself in a position of needing to downsize, you have already equipped your employees to transition more smoothly into a new position without a lot of out-of-pocket expense on your part.
Tip #5: Be sure to ask attendees for feedback.
Finally, you will likely find it nearly impossible to develop a truly fantastic training program if you don't ask your employees what did or didn't work for them. As well, you need to track results beyond the day of to see how well employees retained the information and how easily they put it into practice.
By implementing these five tips, you may just find that "training day" becomes one of the most anticipated days in your employees' time with you!