Class Act: Tips for Effective Training and Development

Updated: Feb 2

Training is a very generic term that doesn't capture its value. For one thing, many people associate training with learnings that are very tactical in nature. However, in addition to engaging people with new processes and technologies, training can include culture, vision and strategic goals. The amount of change in organizations ensures that there will always be new things to learn and -and for those who are engaged and motivated - new horizons to reach.

Ask leadership "What are the top three things you need your employees to understand?" 

Numerous studies point to organizational culture as one of the top challenges to achieving business targets. While culture is best shared by others living it, with new people joining the organization through recruiting or acquisition, cultural training - including e-learning - are helping new hires and existing employees understand how they live out the values of the organization to achieve goals.

Find subject matter experts who can both educate and appeal to your employees. 

Even the most learned professionals can go unheard if they don't actively engage their audience, so when designing your training program, use subject matter experts that can energize a crowd and gain the trust of employees. This will help you stay focused on engaging and informing employees instead of worrying about an individual's credibility. 

Allocate enough time and resources for your employees to succeed. 

A common mistake when rolling out new programs is failing to factor in the time employees will need to train, learn and adapt new programs. If your employees are already strained for time, work with them to free up time so they can fully immerse themselves in the training sessions. Remember: if you don't make training a priority, neither will your employees.

Ensure the training format aligns with your goals. 

Knowing which format works best for your training goals is crucial to successful instructional design, so be sure to ask yourself what the overall goal of the program is before you begin designing it. A personal, instructor-led program that encourages open dialogue and real-time feedback would be the most effective method for implementing a culture, vision or organizational change, while a computer-based, e-learning format is an ideal way to roll out standardized content to a large group of people in different regions and time zones. And never rule out the power of microlearning for quick refresher courses – these short, focused reminders provide employees with bite-sized information that they can access on the go via their mobile phones.

Meet your audience where they are.

Whether your employees are working remotely, in the field, or at corporate headquarters, be sure to develop training sessions that capture – and keep – their attention. From animated videos to interactive methods and e-learning sessions, there are a wealth of engaging training formats to choose from that entertain as well as enlighten. Animated videos, which are highly engaging and can be modified to it your company's exact needs, have a significantly high success rate, as do training sessions with interactive elements like demonstrations, role playing and group discussions. Computer-based e-learning methods - which offer hands-on training in a virtual environment through interactive quizzes, drag-and-drop puzzles and gamification - are also widely used by modern-thinking companies.

Ask your employees to share their skills with other team members.

Giving your employees a moment to shine is a great way to enhance engagement and build a cohesive, cooperative team. Set aside some time during team meetings so that each employee can take a turn sharing a unique skill or proficiency. Topics can be directly related to their position, business insights, or professional development - anything that gives your employees the opportunity to build their self-confidence, practice public speaking, and interact with other team members.