As a small business owner or trainer, how often do you ask employees for ways you can help them do their job better?
Most businesses run at a hectic pace, helping customers, and pursuing new sales opportunities. But giving employees a chance to participate in their training and personal growth can keep them on the job and engaged with their work.
Encourage two-way communication
Business communications often flows one-direction: Owners or managers tell workers what needs to be done or new tasks they should perform. Rarely are employees asked for their thoughts and ideas. While employees know they perform duties in exchange for a paycheck, they have many ideas that could help improve operations and customer relations.
So open up the communication pathway by making discussions two-way. Ask employees questions, such as, “What can we do to help you succeed?” “What new skills and knowledge would you like to acquire?” And, “What are your ideas for helping the company work better and smarter and improve customer relations?”
Gathering employees’ ideas is an important first step. But, the second is even more critical: Adopt some of their ideas. Employees know that as a small business, you can’t implement all of their suggestions. So set priorities and ask for their feedback. Then start working on a plan to make changes and set up the training programs they request.
Create interactive learning experiences; encourage teamwork
Designing employee training modules will take time. But it’s easier to provide the learning experiences employees want by using online training software. Workers like watching training modules at any time, on any device, and from any location.
Organize the training topics and the resources needed and ask key team members to help create them. Most workers are eager help set up interesting, interactive training modules. A few ideas include videotaping role-plays, preparing audio discussions, or having employees set up pictures that communicate key training points.
Look for additional interesting YouTube videos that teach employees the knowledge and skills they want. Then organize these materials into training modules. Check out these ideas to design effective learning experiences.
Keep training relevant
Employee training is not a “one and done” task. Although employees will watch and re-watch training modules several times, it’s important to add in new topics continually.
Regularly ask employees for their ideas for new training topics, such as, “What have you always wanted to know about _____.” Another idea is to develop training that teaches little-known facts about the business, customers, or your products.
Set up growth pathways to show employees how they can use their new skills and knowledge to pursue different jobs or take on other responsibilities. Organize team training experiences that teach employees how to work together and complement each other’s expertise and abilities. Often employees are expected to
work on projects but struggle to work well with others.
These type of training experiences will show employees that they aren’t trapped in a dead-end job and will be more likely to stay on the job. And, they’ll be more committed to helping the business succeed.
Using the tracking option included in the online training software, you can check employees’ progress in completing modules, and also see how well they’ve done in the related quizzes. When employees reach set training milestones, publicly celebrate their accomplishments.
Employees appreciate your recognition of their commitment to complete training modules. They also like to share how they plan to use their new knowledge and skills. The celebration doesn’t have to be a big event. Just a simple break time activity or a toast after work is appreciated.
These simple actions will go a long way toward encouraging positive employee attitudes and increasing engagement.