Training taboos you should break

In order to get ahead in the world of business, most companies will have to stand out from the crowd and do something different. More often that not, this will involve bending the rules in someway, albeit legally and legitimately.

However, the same goes for training. Even though there are various best practices in place and long-established procedures that most organisations will abide by, a lot can be said for thinking outside of the box and breaking traditional taboos.

In many respects, there are no rigid rules or regulations associated with training. After all, it is fair to say most businesses will do anything they can to increase the expertise and adeptness of their employees.

Even so, the vast majority of companies will go back to conventional classroom teaching and old-fashioned mentoring in an attempt to educate employees. Unfortunately, more and more of today’s workforce are rejecting this approach and require fresh impotence to learn.

With this in mind, here are some training taboos you should seriously think about breaking.

Concentrating on skills rather than behaviour

Even if you have a competent workforce that possesses a great deal of knowledge about the business and their job role, there is always room for improvement. Usually, businesses believe that in order to improve, members of staff will need to increase and enhance their skillset or expertise.

But for numerous organisations and employees, this couldn’t be further from the truth. It is often far more beneficial to concentrate on bringing about a behavioural change in order to boost your personnel’s on-the-job abilities.

It isn’t fair to try and change the personality of your employees, but rather evoke an adjustment in attitude. For example, retail staff could learn to treat a member of the public coming through the door as an advocate of the brand rather than just another customer.

To this end, training should also attempt to boost the unique traits of each and every individual too. So, if you were in a call centre, naturally introverted employees shouldn’t be forced into making sales, rather retrained to become a customer service representative instead.

Giving employees time off work for training

With various training courses, employees will need to leave their desk or post and sit in a conference room for hours on end in order to learn. In some cases, members of staff may even need to leave the workplace altogether and travel to a location several miles away.

However, training that takes place in a location far removed from an employee’s natural setting can do more harm than good. It is easy to feel uncomfortable and tense in an unfamiliar place, which isn’t helped by the fact that fellow attendees will no doubt share the same opinion.

As a result, employees won’t be focused on the teaching materials and might not gain much from the experience. Even if they do, it can be incredibly difficult to apply this newly acquired knowledge when back at work.

Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be this way. Through the use of technology, members of staff can participate in online courses or distance learning modules at their desks during quieter times of the day. In addition to feeling at ease, employees will be much more confident when it comes to retaining and applying new information too.

Enlisting the services of a training provider

This might sound like a controversial taboo to break, but there is method behind the madness. In fact, taking control of your own training might be the best thing you ever do.

There is little to no doubt that the vast majority of training providers are brilliant at what they do. In fact, for certain industries and organisations, they will be considered indispensible. But that doesn’t mean to say every business needs their expertise to upskill and train staff.

Again, technology holds the answer. Through learning techniques like spaced repetition and gamification from Wranx, you may never need to send your members of staff on a training course again. You can come up with the themes and topics you want your employees to learn about and these science-driven teaching techniques will do the rest.

As soon as your members of staff demonstrate a solid understanding, they will be provided with a new set of materials to learn about. What’s more, spaced repetition and gamification keep employees motivated and intrigued thanks to the element of competition.

Testing your employees at the end of training

Evaluating the success of training is absolutely essential. However, waiting until a course has been completed before performing this step is a big mistake, as you won’t be able to monitor employee progress or rectify any mistakes that occurred.

On top of that, failing to deliver feedback to members of staff could affect their chances of learning too. Employees will need recognition for their achievements and support when things aren’t going to plan.

If you consistently measure progress, you should be able to notice differences in workforce behaviour as soon as each and every individual moves forward. You may also want to implement skill-based metrics, such as conversion rates at different stages of the sales process.

Through the use of technology, measuring and testing your employees becomes a lot easier too. This can take the form of regular quizzes or impromptu feedback forms, which don’t take long to complete but will provide invaluable insights into employee learning.

Why breaking training taboos makes perfect sense

Even though some forms of training have been around for several years now, the world of business is constantly changing and evolving. For this reason, breaking a few taboos is somewhat essential.

You don’t necessarily have to change the subjects or skills you want to teach, but concentrating on employee behaviour, allowing staff to stay on-the-job while learning, taking advantage of modern technology, and testing every step of the way can bring about various far-reaching benefits.

Written by: Persia Shahkarami

Published: 24 Aug, 2015