Developing an Engaging Online Training Program for Your Employees
Employees who undergo career training can become assets for a company. However, rather than following cookie-cutter models, creating a custom training session will be more efficient. Here are some ways you can develop an engaging online training program for your employees.
Get to Know Your Audience
One of the first things that you should do is research your intended audience. This includes determining the skills they have, their expertise in them, and their current knowledge base as per their job description. The answers you get will help you create training sessions that offer real value.
Creating an online training course based on outdated work practices will only waste time, money, and resources that can otherwise be spent elsewhere. In addition, the course will not offer employees value for their time since it will not address current work issues. The key to an engaging training session addresses pressing concerns and offers practical solutions to them.
Keep It Simple
Contrary to popular belief, a training program does not have to be lengthy to be effective. In an age where instant information is in demand, a long-winded session will not register.
Your audience will get distracted easily, and may opt to not attend the next one. To prevent this and to retain their attention, make the training session short and simple. The navigation should be easy to understand and as uncomplicated as possible. To ensure this, make sure that each point transitions to the next smoothly.
Be Flexible but Maintain Limits
Online training sessions that are flexible in their approach to audiences are more productive. One of the ways you can make online training easier for your audiences is to consider their schedule. If your work team is dispersed across the globe for instance, coordinate with each of them and then come up with a mutual time frame.
However, you will have to maintain a time limit of your own according to specific targets. Since they cannot be compromised, make sure that employees are aware of them beforehand. That way you can create a training calendar that works for both of you.
Incorporating game mechanics in an online training session can increase engagement significantly. By making each module a game, you can improve audience understanding and speed up the learning process at the same time.
For instance, allowing them to earn trophies or achievements for a particular number of consecutive logins can increase the training sessions' popularity significantly. It will give participants one more reason to access the training program. A leader board will nurture that competitive streak, and drive them to exceed their training.
Create a Consistent Schedule
Effective training sessions have 2 things in common - they are consistent and persistent. Instead of cramming everything the employees need to know in one session, break it down into a couple of days. By spreading each lesson out like this, you can motivate employees to sign in every week or month for each training program.
This will create consistency which will reduce your burden and increase audience engagement for ongoing or persistent learning. Information is best retained in small doses so this model should work.
Take Suggestions into Account
Even if you have the last say over the lessons that will be in the training program, ignoring employee suggestions will make the final product obsolete. Since the session is meant for them, they should have a say in the topics and concepts that can help them grow in their careers or as leaders.
There is value in encouraging suggestions. This includes unexplored but relevant topics that can add value to the business in the long run and allow it to remain competitive.
How to start and what are the benefits?
When budgets get cut and times are tough, one of the first things thrown out of the door is an organization’s training program. A majority of companies, 79% to be exact, avoid this by not offering any programs for professional development. And the consequences are not pleasant.
Studies show that employees who say their companies offer poor training programs are three times likely to leave their jobs compared to those who work for organizations offering excellent training opportunities. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
For an organization, career-oriented training courses aren’t just something that is nice to have – it’s a vital part of its growth strategy. Additionally, development courses offer the following benefits:
- Employee Satisfaction: Employees who perform their job responsibilities more confidently are more satisfied compared to those who aren’t.
- Promote Recruitment: Employees who are career-focused value opportunities that facilitate professional growth.
- Easier Succession Planning: Training courses like leadership development programs allow organizations to groom future leaders.
- Increase Collective Knowledge: Encouraging employees to take part in relevant subjects – courses related to an online tool they use daily, for example – can improve productivity tenfold.
How can employers introduce professional career development programs in their organization? Do corporate setups have a part to play? Here are some ways in which you can improve your staff’s professional development.
Create a Growth Plan
If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. A well-thought-out career development plan provides new or struggling employees with clear direction on how to advance their careers. To create a growth plan, follow these steps:
- Consider Business Goals: Before you set training objectives, compare your organization’s business requirements with an employee’s development needs. Make sure that you consider both long and short business objectives as well. Start by asking yourself questions, like: Can payroll processes become more efficient if your HR manager learns a specific skill? Does the team lead of your sales department need to learn a particular software?
- Recognize Readiness Vs Potential: Sam might have the potential to become a manager, but may not necessarily be ready to take on a leadership role just yet. With this in mind, maybe it’s better to hold off leadership training until Sam learns skills that make him better prepared.
- Limit Sessions by Scheduling Training in Chunks. No one wants a dead-end job that stagnates them. However, no one wants to take part in hours of training sessions either. Therefore, make each training program brief and to the point. Employees learn better if they are provided with information in chunks – small amounts of content based on specific training objectives. To keep things comfortable, limit career management training courses by scheduling them as hourly sessions a couple of days in a week.
- Focus on Skills Applicable to Job Requirements. Your engineering department doesn’t need to sit through a course in social media marketing if it’s not part of their daily job requirements. To make training more effective, customize your training programs for skills that employees will actually be using on the job.
- Facilitate a Learning Environment. More employees realize the benefit of taking an active part in training programs if their peers show interest in it too. Organizations that foster a culture of learning encourage this behavior. To encourage a culture of learning, create peer-learning groups where employees can share their experiences with one another. Sharing allows them to find people who might be going through the same challenges as they are and work together to find solutions.
- Take Management On-board. Having managers or supervisors conduct training sessions is a great way to improve support for your efforts. Additionally, it:
- Encourages more employees to take an active part in the sessions
- Improves employee morale
- Encourages learning
- Map Out Far Reaching Benefits. If training is strictly work related, employees will compartmentalize learning and fail to see how it benefits them beyond the job. To avoid this, show, rather than tell, your employees how the new skills they learn will help them at work and in other aspects of their life.
- Standardize Employee Training and Development. The best way to ensure that employees effectively practice all the business regulations is to give the same training across the board. With online training programs, organizations can help ensure that all employees are receiving the same level of training regardless of their position in the organizational hierarchy. In other words, standardized training means standardized compliance. Furthermore, e-Learning opportunities help maintain consistency in employee management, eliminating any possibilities of unfair favoritism.
- Advance Employee Skills. Irrespective of the industry, developmental advances are constantly taking place. Organizations, if they don’t keep up with the changing times, risk becoming irrelevant and eventually obsolete in their respective market. Career development training courses online help employees stay up-to-date with the industry trends, as well as have knowledge about the latest technological advancements. The improvement achieved via training development programs adds to an employee’s existing skill set, increasing their proficiency and expertise within the industry, which leads us to our next point.
- Improve Specified Productivity. When you invest in your staff’s training and development after evaluating their current skill set, you can target the specific areas of growth that require improvement. This helps increase the productivity of employees in the exact capacities of operation that require attention or that will aid in the progress of your business now as well as in the future.
- Expedite Training. Rapidly expanding organizations don’t have a lot of time to spare to invest in the training process to effectively train their new employees up to their standards. Online training programs considerably cut down on the said training process, expediting it to a point where new hires are thoroughly brought up to speed with company information, structure, and organizational policies and practices.
- Reduces Expenses and Increase Savings. Devising and conducting effective training programs take valuable resources. The one-time investment in thorough online training programs reduces long-term expenses, thereby increasing monetary and other resource savings for organizations. With readily available online training programs already in place, companies don’t have to use their resources to organize or facilitate long training sessions.
- Increase Employee Retention. You wouldn’t think so, but the investment in an online training program is a very effective and ingenious employee retention strategy. How so? Consider this: the objective of every dedicated employee within their respective work environment is to feel that they are gaining valuable experience and knowledge along with feeling valued. The investment in an online training program by an employer effectively communicates to the employee that not only they are worthy of being invested in, but also appreciated and that they make a difference. A professional online training course for improvement and development sends out the message to the staff that their careers matter. The new knowledge and information they gain from the online training courses further enhance employee interest and expertise, effectively ensuring that they don’t feel stagnated within their positions. This automatically improves their enthusiasm as well as builds their loyalty towards their organization.
Every single corporation, regardless of its size, needs to invest in training its employees in one way or the other. This is not only a crucial step for employee development but is also necessary for business growth.
Training programs help employees follow the individual business practices of the particular organization, which may be essential to enhance their productivity. If you don’t train your employees as per your business practices, how exactly would you expect them to yield the profitable results you desire?
That said, the development and execution of training programs is hard work, which requires the use of the three most precious business commodities: time, effort, and resources. Not all organizations have an abundance of them all to invest in curating effective employee training programs.