Business is changing faster than ever which means all levels of your organization must keep up. Managing employee education has always been a difficult task for managers and executives.
How do you balance the current needs of the business with helping employees to continue growing?
Businesses spend over $164 billion per year on employee education.
Is that money being put to good use or are there improvements to be made? If you are willing to invest in your staff then you obviously want to ensure you get the results you pay for.
Before throwing time and money at the issue of employee education, you first have to create a strategy. These strategies can help guide your next move and reveal areas that you should be focusing on.
Have Employees Create Development Plans
Throwing information at your employees is not always effective. Some employees may embrace the additional education while others may not actually retain any information.
How can you get employees to engage in the learning?
One of the best methods for employee education is to have employees take ownership of their own development and education. Part of regular employee review should include an employee-created development path.
What area of the business do they want to work toward? What specific skills do they need to develop to get where they want to be?
This method can be very revealing about where individual employee’s passions may lie. Instead of forcing them to learn something they don’t care about, let them tell you what learning they are most interested in and use that excitement to the benefit of your business.
Be Flexible With Employee Learning Plans
One of the biggest challenges with employee education is actually finding time to complete the learning. Businesses need to be prepared to offer flexible learning schedules that provide employees with time to dedicate to their development. Hoping that employees can fit learning into their existing schedule or home life is an exercise in futility.
Mobile technology has made learning more flexible than ever. Find training options that allow employees to complete learning on-the-go using a tablet or smartphone. Also, look for learning programs that can be consumed in small chunks rather than large modules. It’s much easier to find 15 or 20 minutes to dedicate to learning rather than hours at a time.
Create an Environment That Encourages Mentorship
The days of bringing in a speaker to inspire a large group of people are gone. Employees simply do not respond to that type of learning.
Instead, smaller learning groups that spend more time together than just an afternoon for learning tend to produce better results. Training mentors, leaders, or managers and allowing them to pass along their knowledge in real-world situations is a much more effective use of time and money.
This also forces the team to take ownership over their education. Mentors will feel a strong sense of responsibility as they are expected to pass along their knowledge. Employees will respond more to personalized training rather than large group training.
Seek Out Honest Training Feedback
Part of an effective employee education strategy is to seek out feedback about training and development from employees.
Anonymous surveys are a great way to get the necessary feedback you need to ensure that employees are getting what they need from training.
Honest feedback from employees is your best source for information when creating the next training program and can reveal gaps in the training while also helping you understand what worked well. Not only can you get valuable information, but employees will also feel like their feedback is appreciated.
The important part about asking for feedback is actually creating solutions using that feedback rather than ignoring it. If you ignore the feedback then the employees will assume it doesn’t matter and that attitude could extend to other areas of the business as well.
Create a Conversational Environment
In addition to listening to feedback, try to create listening and learning opportunities that feel like a conversational environment. This could be a live YouTube video where executives field questions in the comments section or a town hall event where employees and management can engage on a range of topics.
Not only are these events great for learning, but they also help build trust and engagement. These events could be weekly or bi-weekly and offer an opportunity for management to share news about the company while taking instant feedback and questions from employees.
One thing to always keep in mind is that employee learning doesn’t always have to include textbooks and courses. Some of the best learning is done simply by interacting with others. Create that type of environment and watch your staff grow within it.
Seek Out Expert Employee Training Advice
Employee training is essential to the growth of your business. If you are concerned about your employee education plan and want expert advice to help you get the best results possible then you may wish to reach out to experts in the area.
Mooney Lyons helps managers and executives develop world-class employee training programs that satisfy the needs of the business as well as the interests of the employees. In most cases, employees are eager to learn and grow – they just need to be engaged in a way that they connect with personally.
Don’t let one of the most important aspects of your business development plan hold you and your employees back. Your business is our business and we want to help you reach a level of success you have always dreamed of.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
Contact Mooney Lyons today for guidance about employee education as well as other important business topics including succession planning.