Training new employees is a necessary part of the onboarding process. However, are the traditional methods –lectures, slideshows, and boring industry videos – the most effective way to train? Some say no: major industry survey showed that only 21% of employees acquired new skills through a training program over the last five years.
Business.com recently reported: “Ever since German psychologist Herman Ebbinghaus discovered the “forgetting curve” back in 1885, dozens of studies have confirmed that when people are exposed to learning one time, after 30 days they retain just 20%.” A poor showing for the effort that is put in.
Utilizing unconventional training methods, your business can help new employees become more involved in their training, more engaged with the material, and more committed to the business and their role in it.
Many businesses have new employees shadow established staff members for the first few days or weeks of their employment. After the training period ends, that relationship is terminated. However, by instituting a formalized mentoring program, you can facilitate a much more thorough onboarding process that brings value to both employees for a much longer time period.
- The mentoring program can include, but is not limited to, on-the-job training, feedback, coaching, and assisting the new hire with fitting in to the existing company culture.
Using New Technology
Sitting in cumbersome cubicles and communicating strictly through phone calls is no longer the norm in business, and as your company has evolved, so should your onboarding process. The internet and social media has broken open the field of employee training with diverse sources of content and ways to access knowledge.
In the course of completing their new hire training, employees can watch a YouTube video, read an industry blog, attend a webinar, receive one-on-one instruction with a guest trainer over video conference, and take an online assessment.
- By taking advantage of the diverse training tools available online, you cater to different types of learning styles and reinforce important information through a well-rounded training course.
Contests and Competitions
Getting your new employees to complete your training modules can be a chore. One way to motivate your new hires to intellectually invest themselves in their training is to make it into a contest.
With this goal in mind, one company created a web-based training and assessment tool as the gateway to a contest. Successful completion of the training module entered employees into a drawing for gift certificates, a TV, and a trip to Hawaii. 97% of employees successfully completed the training.
Company Library and Book Club
As a way to augment new hire training, encourage continuing education for seasoned employees, and foment an atmosphere of shared learning, create a company-wide library with books about business and your industry. Launch a company book club and encourage new hires to participate.
Not only will they benefit from the readings; the ensuing discussion with other employees can give them a greater understanding of how your business functions and present them with an opportunity to ask questions they didn’t know they had.
Similar to your book club – but possibly more entertaining – you can host a film viewing. Rather than showing a training video produced by or for your business, show a popular film that deals with your business type or industry. Use the film as a launching point for discussing how your business operates.
- Since many films don’t present accurate renditions of how many industries operate – Indiana Jones and archaeology comes to mind – this can be a good opportunity for pointing out industry worst practices, emphasizing company culture, and reinforcing correct business processes.
Whenever you begin a new type of training method, be sure to develop a plan to assess the effectiveness of the program. Making employee training – both as a means of onboarding new hires and to help all employees improve their skills – a priority for your business. Unconventional training methods can increase employee engagement and have a positive effect on employee retention.
Megan Webb-Morgan is a web content writer for www.resourceNation.com. She writes about small business, focusing on topics such as smart hiring tactics. Follow Resource Nation on Facebook and Twitter, too!