Five key online training trends
You can’t have an induction without training. It’s the chief facet of the entire process that will set the new employee up to either enjoy early success or walk down struggle street. And, like any part of business, the ongoing evolution of technology, generational change and business needs continues to demand new approaches and thinking to how online training is delivered, especially when you consider that far from a first-day-only outlook, it must be sustained and ongoing. Here’s five online training trends that should be on your radar.
Let staff take control
The traditional approach to management was that they controlled technology and culture and passed their expertise and direction down the ladder. But that was a perspective best suited to a time where careers were long-term, change was slow and people worked their way up the ladder internally. These days, however, things move fast, employees switch jobs often and leaders are shaped by talent rather than seniority. So it could well be the new staff you employ know more than you do about cutting-edge technology and innovation and how it can take the company forward. With this in mind, your online training needs to take a circular approach, drawing on the best minds available wherever they sit on the corporate structure. Trust us – your business, staff and hopefully profits will thank you for it in the long run.
Like it or not, social media is a big part of business today. One tweet or Facebook post that goes viral has the opportunity to cement a company’s success or send it on a downward spiral literally in a day. So for this reason, training in how to use social media is a must. Even if staff have private accounts already, they need to know how to use avenues such as Instagram and twitter to, for example, network, pursue sales leads and keep an eye on industry trends. Fail to teach them how to do this, and you’re basically ignoring a major and essential part of their education. Having a company Facebook page that sporadically promotes your products is just not up to par.
Allow for individuality
Until the day that clones are invented, your workforce is always going to be made up of disparate personality types. And with that comes different methods of learning. Some do it best by watching a video and taking copious notes, others by actually doing a job and asking questions along the way and still others by reading a written handbook. No two people are alike, and training needs to recognise this, with modules offered different ways to allow people to work through it in a way that best suits them, and at a pace they understand. Sure, the timeframe can’t be open ended, and some stuff will need to be consistent, but any avenue where you can cater to varied staff needs is a place where you can be sure the message is getting through.
For all that businesses have embraced social media to a certain extent as a marketing tool, they’ve been far slower to understand online training opportunities mobile technology offers, despite its penetration. Those who do, often think of things like Youtube channels, podcasts, ebooks or even remote log-ons to an education portal. But that’s far from the whole story, with mobile apps now coming into their own, especially given the efficiencies and savings they can bring. For example, a fast-food franchise introducing a new range of burgers could create an app to teach – and test – employees about how to make all the new products. It’s far more efficient in every way than dragging them all to a central test kitchen for a day of training. Other companies can use apps to train staff in everything from recognising facial expressions to prioritizing workloads. In fact, it’s pretty fair to say we’re only at the beginning of discovering what benefits the mobile realm can bring to training. Why not get in on the ground floor?
Let employees set the agenda
All too often, companies offer a tried and true approach to training that tells employees what to learn. But modern staff are smart – they can recognise their skill weaknesses and identify the steps they need to take to fill them. So instead of prescribing training regimens, let staff have input. This could be by offering access to short management courses, putting a range of training videos online to watch at will, or even bringing in outside specialists to cover certain topics at the request of staff. Remember, as always, that the way to get the most from your people is to engage them and given them a sense of ownership, and few things will underline this message more clearly than: ‘You tell us, what you need and want to know and we’ll provide it.
Do you have any questions or great tips to share?