Everyone knows how intimidating it can feel when starting a new job or a new position in their existing firm or workplace. And it is no secret that older employees find it hard to learn new skills.
For the employer, both of these facts mean that getting the training right, from the very start, is vital if they are to get the best out of that member of staff in the future.
According to an expert in the field, neuroscientist Andrew Huberman, the ability to learn new things is connected to ‘neuroplasticity’. And if you want to trigger this in adults, you have to get the learner to ‘be totally focused’ and to ‘feel a sense of urgency’.
The trouble is that the training methods employed by the majority of businesses do not do either very well.
New technology not being taken up
We are all surrounded (and often astounded by) advances in technology, so it is surprising to find, according to a recent report, that most businesses are not adopting ‘high tech’ in their training programmes.
So what can you do to improve the skill sets your staff have?
Most employers have some sort of onboarding programme, where the new staff member is shown some of the ‘ropes’. But studies have shown that by starting this process BEFORE they start work can contribute to a much smoother start. This can be done by sending them the employee handbook and information on the other members of the team, for example.
It seems that doing this allows the new starter more ‘brainspace’ and thus gives them more focus and energy, which in turn enhances their ability to take in the training information they are given on that ‘stressful’ first day.
Ensuring a cultural fit
Of course, this is one of the areas that should have been covered in the selection process, it being important only to recruit people who share the goals and standards of an organisation. However, this is one of those often overlooked areas, cultural training apparently greatly assisting any staff member’s ability to ‘fit in’.
Ensuring that employees are continually trained
It goes without saying that the world, and the skills needed to be successful, are changing at a very fast rate. This means that yesterday’s training is soon out of date. With this in mind, all staff members should be encouraged to look at the training they have received in the past.
There are two reasons for this. One is that it allows them to extract the maximum benefits from the training (after all it can be difficult to take it all in) and two, perhaps more importantly, it allows them to highlight to their managers that things have moved on and that the training needs to be updated.
This is important, since if a business is to compete, it has to keep up with the changes in its market sector and to constantly update the skills and abilities of its employees.
But what of the training methodologies?
Videos are a highly-effective training medium, as they allow employees to learn at their own pace and can also be paused and sections repeated, to allow time for the information to ‘sink in’. They can be watched again and again as needed (this being very useful for difficult subjects). Studies have shown that just under 70% of people like to learn by watching short videos. Showing the same video to all employees encourages consistency. Videos can and are often used in traditional classroom learning environments, allowing the lecturer to highlight the important parts of the training and to answer any questions.
This type of learning has been around for a few years now and is growing fast. This type of learning delivery allows employees to learn when they want to from just about anywhere and can be revisited when required. There are added benefits, too, managers having the ability to check on who has completed the training and how they scored in any tests. This allows them to offer more support or encouragement as needed.
In many cases, ‘on the job’ training works the best, but only, and this is crucial, if the learner is closely supported and supervised by someone who is confident and proficient in that role. This person is known as a ‘Buddy’. Research has shown that 9 out of 10 organisations have found this system to work really well, substantially boosting the proficiency of new staff. The main way of implementing this training system is to ensure that there is an overlap between the time the new staff member joins and the old employee leaving. This way, the new hire can be trained by someone with intimate knowledge of the processes involved, including all the ‘tricks of the trade’.
This is in reality a fancy name for what is actually old fashioned face to face classroom training. There are many benefits to classroom training, all the staff are in the same room and all can ask questions in real time. It is also a great way for new hires to get to know the rest of the team and better understand the company’s culture.
Then there is…
Interactive training on steroids – Simulations
Simulations are the ‘crème da la crème’ of training methods, combining all the best parts of traditional face to face classroom training with high tech real time problem solving situations. As with E Learning, the managers can see just how well their team (as well as themselves) perform. And it is far better than just watching a video; with business simulations, staff get to play a part, learning what works and what does not, safely.
Of course, simulations are not suitable for every type of training, but when they are a fit, they are the very best fit there is.
For more advice on how business simulations could benefit your organisation, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Prendo.