Formal training, like classes or videos, usually occupies a special place in our calendars. We take a few hours or days away from work to learn new information and skills that will help us do our jobs better.
But research indicates that we use as little as 10-15% of formal training in our work. So we don’t benefit very much from that classroom time. As a result, many learning theorists are now thinking that we can get a lot more out of training if we do a little bit every day.
You can’t improve your overall fitness by exercising all day every day for one week of the year. And it seems reasonable to say that you can’t improve job performance with one short, intense period of learning. So we need to make training a regular part of the work day – as routine as timesheets.
Shorten employee training sessions to fit into your schedule.
Some people refer to short, regular training sessions as “microlearning.” It can consist of 3-minute instructional videos, an infographic, or even a few minutes spent practicing a new skill with a colleague.
When you shrink training down to a few minutes, your team can fit it into the schedule or even take advantage of the downtime between the last customer call and the next meeting.
Train employees on what you can use every day.
With short learning sessions, employees have the flexibility to work on the most relevant skills for them. For example, if you need to do a customer presentation and you spend some time learning how to put video into PowerPoint, you can use that new skill right away.
If you’d had a PowerPoint class six months ago, you probably wouldn’t remember what to do. But if you’re learning and applying the technique when you need it, you’ll more likely remember it for next time.
Focus on business priorities for daily training.
If the company priority is customer service, for example, small daily training on ways to work with customers, handle complaints, or answer questions will keep those priorities top of mind for your team.
Keep employees engaged with regular time to learn.
Most people like to learn something new. Your team will look forward to taking a few minutes every day for new ideas or tips, especially if they can work with colleagues to share and learn.
Most employees also want to know that they’re getting better at their jobs and they have a path to advancement in the company. If they learn a little bit each day, they’ll feel more satisfied, committed to the company, and engaged with their work.
Build regular training sessions into a learning culture.
If your team gets used to finding some time every day to learn or practice something new, it will start to impact other activities. They’ll begin to see new assignments as opportunities to learn.
They’ll look for ways to apply recent training in different situations. Everyone will start to approach challenges with an open mind that can lead you to innovations.
Get started by training with what you have.
You may think that it all sounds great, but who has time to create little learning sessions every day? If the answer is “not you,” don’t worry. You can use any resources you already have and sprinkle in peer-to-peer learning for instant collaborative training.
- Start by listing out a few skills that employees need. You can ask employees to write down the abilities they want to acquire.
- Break skills down into bite-sized pieces that can be explained or practiced in a few minutes.
- Focus on behavioral objectives and best practices so learning stays consistent even as each team member follows his or her own path.
- Match up each bite-sized learning task with a resource if you have one. It could be part of an existing training presentation. It could be a generally available video on YouTube or an appropriate online article. Or it could be an experienced colleague.
- Confirm with your employees the list of learning tasks they need to work on, their resources, and the deadlines for learning each skill. Be sure to include time to practice the skills once they have the basics.
- Have employees work one-by-one on the bite-sized pieces, building up to broader skills and behaviors.
- You can let employees choose their own training time or schedule it for them.
- Then follow up to see how everyone’s doing with the behavioral objective and best practices.
As you and your team go along, you’ll gradually develop more learning and resource materials for your short sessions, but don’t forget that employees enjoy learning from others, so encourage them to share and teach each other, as well.
If you care enough about employee training to set aside several days a year, then you want to make that time worthwhile. Unfortunately, most humans don’t learn best in one big chunk. We have to practice and get comfortable with our new knowledge over time. So first start by making learning a habit, and in small steps, every day, you’ll create a robust, high-performing team.
Pract.us can help you create an everyday training program. Learn how.