If only we could cram employee training into a 3 minute montage like in every 80’s action film.
Traditional employee learning and development puts training at the very beginning of an employee’s tenure. It’s simple enough to implement, but it does raise a number of issues with employee performance. Knowledge retention is the most obvious, but equally problematic is employee motivation – when that is lacking, employees might find themselves less motivated to improve.
There will be an inevitable gap between the end of initial training and the required skills for the job. A survey found that 40% of employees who receive poor training will leave within their first year.
A continuous learning strategy fixes these problems by engaging employees over the long-term, instead of only at the beginning. Investing in continuous learning allows for organic growth among employees, which in turn increases company productivity.
Here are 5 tips to help implement a continuous learning strategy:
1. Outline a clear vision
Make it clear to your employees that most learning happens past the initial training. Employees will be less stressed because their development will occur gradually over time, rather than be front-loaded at the start. It also makes it clear that your first priority is their well-being, which translates into higher workforce morale.
2. Foster a work environment that encourages continuous learning
Replace the idea of training with capability development. This empowers the employees to be more self-motivated and more likely to want to improve themselves. Build a culture around employee satisfaction and improvement. Integrate continuous learning into daily routines.
According to Gartner’s 2013 CIO Agenda report, IT leaders who focus on training staff completed more projects on time and within budget.
3. Offer consistent feedback to employees
Communication is key for finding areas of improvement and adapting to your employees’ needs. Experience-based feedback with actual work context is much more effective than feedback based on rout training. Give your employees concrete goals and paths to improve their work.
Remember that communication goes two-ways. Take feedback from your employees as well, to help improve your own continuous learning strategies.
4. Leverage technology as a learning tool
Use a variety of multimedia options to encourage learning from many different angles. People have different ways of learning, through audio, visuals, text or hands-on approach. Creating multiple solutions for training ensures that employees can learn at their own pace and in a manner they are comfortable with.
There are also guidance platforms that can help train employees by providing them with step-by-step guidance whenever they need it.
5. Make use of potential educational partnerships
Massive open online course (MOOCs) providers can assist employees in boosting technical knowledge and building skills. Partnering with certain providers can give your company access to a large catalogue of university-level programs.
You may want to look into partnering with local colleges, universities, or learning institutions for any apprenticeship options. This can provide your workforce with a pool of potential employees that will transition from university-level learning to your own system of continuous learning more efficiently.
Think of continuous learning as smoothing out the bumps and valleys of your employees’ learning curve. A front-loaded strategy has a huge spike right at the beginning that demands a lot out of your employees. This may have a negative effect in their motivation, stress levels and skill proficiency. Implementing continuous learning straightens this curve out.
Written by Jason Silberman
Jason is the Lead Author & Editor of Training Station Blog. Jason established the Training Station blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to training, learning and development.