Part 1: Ignoring These 4 Training Methods Will Doom Your New Hires
This article is part of a two-part series on the most essential parts of employee training. Check out Part 2 here.
Chip no longer has the gleam of an enthusiastic new hire in his eyes. Now, they look tired and weary. They’re smoked out.
It’s been less than a year since you welcomed him. But rewind 90 days, and you’ll see Chip tapping at a broken keyboard. His employee experience went south from there.
He’s fallen through the cracks. Your onboarding plan lacked clarity — he didn’t understand his role and questioned if his work was valuable. Over time, he saw his role as less meaningful. When he struggled to understand a process or use digital tools effectively, he gave up instead of asking for support.
What began as a case of the “overwhelmed employee” quickly escalated into disengagement and turnover.
Bad training methods will destroy your employee retention
After your new hire first inks a contract, you need an engaging onboarding plan to protect employee retention. It’s hard to recover lost morale — Chip would have stayed with your company if you had just trained him better.
Here are the four best employee training methods that could have saved Chip from churn.
1. Embed contextual learning in your training
Imagine you just moved to a new city. You’re out of coffee — and you desperately need it. But you’re in a brand new environment.
You don’t know how to find the nearest cafe or grocery store. Not knowing your way around doesn’t change the fact that you urgently need caffeine.
Would you go out and walk aimlessly and hope to stumble upon your destination? No, of course not. You’d use Google Maps to figure out the quickest left, right, and 60 feet straight-shot to get that coffee.
You rely on technology to understand what you need and deliver the right directions in real time.
You can provide the same kind of valuable guidance by embedding a contextual learning solution in your new hire training model.
Contextual learning is a digital training solution’s ability to give users support — the kind of tool that takes personalization one step further. Training tools with contextual learning capabilities have a key advantage: algorithms.
These algorithms interpret context-sensitive components. You can leverage this power with software that analyzes the actions your employees take, their role in the organization, departmental goals, and the moment that tailored support is needed.
This next-gen tool can sit on top of complex software systems. Consider it an intelligent GPS that scoops data to predict your employee’s needs and guide them forward, step-by-step (before they take a wrong turn and get lost).
Imagine what happens when software anticipates core obstacles for new hires and walks them through on-screen in real time. Employees will feel empowered during training.
You don’t only want employees to achieve proficiency on complex software systems — you want them to be able to retain it.
With contextual assistance, no matter the task, employees can find their way through any digital platform.
2. Use personalization to welcome diversity in learning
If you’ve got Olympic champion Michael Phelps on your team, he is going to thrive in the water. But everyone on your team is not going to be an Olympic swimmer. You have to personalize your training.
You can’t successfully train a team without first understanding the range of diversity. Different types of learners prefer different training methods, require varying amounts of time to learn, and want to practice new information in unique ways.
For instance, some learners are auditory. They can retain and apply new information just from hearing an explanation. Others are more tactile. They want to learn as they go.
Training managers must also account for the way different personality types influence training success.
Social psychologists David W. Merrill and Roger H. Reid have spotlighted four key personalities: analytical, driver, amiable, and expressive. Each personality type confronts unique challenges throughout training.
Discover how each new employee likes to learn. Ask about past training challenges as well as the projects where their talents will excel.
You could have the equivalent of a room full of gold medal champions — but it’s short-sighted to have a one-size-fits-all method for training. They may be champions, but I guarantee you not one will learn in the same way as the next.
How are you accounting for the varying learning styles on your team? Humanize the training process, and don’t force every new hire into the same box. It won’t work — and will surely frustrate your new recruits.
3. Take an agile approach to employee training
Evolutionary genius Charles Darwin warned us, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives; nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”
The future digital workplace is no Galapagos, but make no mistake: business agility and adaptability is critical to thriving in the digital era.
According to a 2016 Harvard Business Review survey, to be adaptable is the #1 skill needed for enterprises going through digital transformation.
There’s forever a gap between the expectation of a plan and the reality of how it unfolds. We see this through the disruption of a version update. It’s no secret — people take to change about as well as oil mixing with water. It’s our basic human instinct to resist change.
When creating new employee training methods, in today’s shifting digital landscape, that plan must have room to evolve.
4. Create open feedback loops
This is where opening feedback loops becomes key. Communication cannot be a one-time interaction.
If you think of Chip, his frustrations were left uncommunicated — and too many employers fail to make room for this important dialogue.
Communicate from the beginning of a new hire’s experience — a first impression starts from the moment before you set up an employee’s new email account. Before they walk into your doors, have you already sent a warm welcome email? Define what to expect for those first few days.
In short, impactful “micro-moments,” your employee is already forming an impression of your company. Make those moments count.
You’re building trust and loyalty with your workforce from day one. Avoid a flash forward to a bad attitude. In humanizing a tricky transition, employees will feel set up to succeed in your company.
This “loop” is very much an exploration — and a positive employee experience clears the space for your new hire to ask questions.
Request feedback throughout a new employee’s entire training process — and use those comments to tailor a better-suited training strategy. A new employee’s transition is a journey — and a strong beginning and middle safeguard your company from an end.
Without taking the time to open communication and promote trust, you’ll fail to see good engagement from your talented team.
Don’t undervalue the impact of a good employee training program.
Chip’s employee experience ended in frustration, disengagement, and churn. But what if you invest in engaging training? You prevent a turnover risk — and empower that new hire to become a top talent for your company.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of critical training methods to improve employee retention.
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