Start the New Year Right by Focusing on Employees

employee trainingHappy New Year! Are your learning programs ready for a fresh start or even just a little makeover? The name of the game is driving improvements throughout the organization and throughout 2020. If you need some extra motivation to create or enhance your learning programs, one fail-safe guiding principle is simply to focus on employees. They are the engine of your business, after all, and while you’ll still likely need to train customers, partners, and other extended groups, there’s no denying that delivering ongoing training to employees is key to their success and the success of the organization.

Training Can Energize the Employee Experience

Let’s start with some common sense advice: employees are humans. And humans love to learn, grow, get better at things. We like to improve. So, when building training programs, think about outcomes. How is the training actually giving learners something they value? Something they can use today? Something that will make them more successful, efficient, effective?

It’s also critical to consider the entire employee journey. That means thinking about pre-hire training and all the way through to off-boarding. Additionally, consider the changing definition of a “career.” Training can inspire workers to develop in different directions than their original role. Today’s workplaces should allow employees to redefine their career paths and gain new knowledge and skills. No one wants to feel boxed in; leverage training to nurture employees and encourage growth.

Here are five additional tips to help meet your learning and development goals for the year:

  • Map training to the employee journey. Just as CX pros map the customer experience, L&D should map the employee experience and define key training opportunities along the journey. Keep in mind that some of the same special qualities that define your customer experience and distinguish your brand will also define your employee experience.
  • Segment learners by more than just their role. Consider the wants and needs of different workers. Just as customer experience design considers a more nuanced understanding of customers than basic demographics or purchase history, you can enhance the employee experience by considering employees’ drivers and desires beyond just their current job function. Training options should support this broader perspective, rather than simply pigeonholing people into where they are today.
  • Empower workers to chart their own direction. People often want to transition to a different function or learn enough to be promoted in their current one. Discovering these drivers will help you present learning paths that take people where they want to go. With the help of your LMS and a library of relevant, off-the-shelf content, people should be able to create their own learning paths that support personal and career goals.
  • Make training continuous and integrated. Today’s job descriptions are working documents that must evolve according to new responsibilities, technologies, and skills requirements. As such, training needs to be in the flow of work, on-demand, and ongoing to give people the information they need — at the point of need. If it’s hard to access or seen as a separate burden “away from work,” you’ll have a lot harder time getting people to engage.
  • Focus on feedback to continually improve. People want their opinions and input to not only be heard, but also acted on. This is true for your training programs, as well. Encourage feedback on courses to improve communication, develop dialogue, and enhance the learning experience. Your LMS should have feedback capabilities built right into it.