15 Creative Employee Training Methods
You train dogs, seals and monkeys. But people prefer to learn. What’s the difference? Training focuses on a skill needed to perform a task today. Learning focuses on knowledge that can be used for a lifetime. We all need some training (skill enhancement), but remember that your employees want and need a well-rounded, long-term educational environment (life enhancement).
Connect Training Beyond the Office
The most important thing you can do to encourage a learning environment is to help your employees see how they can apply the skills and knowledge outside of work, be it with their families, friends or even within their hobbies. By connecting to something outside of work, training them becomes closer to a learning experience, which further motivates employees to learn.
Remember: Different people learn in different ways. The key is to offer a variety of employee training methods, allowing for as much individualized learning approaches as you can. Don’t assume that everyone learns the same way as you. Vary the employee training methods to meet individual styles.
Creative Employee Training Methods
1) Self-paced learning: Allow the employee to learn at his or her own pace and not be forced to keep up with or be slowed down by other learners.
2) Cross training: Expand skills and knowledge by learning new job functions and roles in other departments or areas.
3) Small group interaction/learning: Create small teams of learners to encourage and assist each other in gaining stronger skills, knowledge and attitude. This employee training method is very effective if you have a strong team manager or employee who loves to train others naturally.
4) Reading (books, manuals): Create a shared library or monthly reading list.
5) CBT (computer-based training): Offer employees time at work and at home to experiment and play with new learning applications.
6) Seminars: Send employees to internal or external seminars.
7) Job sharing: Allow employees to share jobs across departments, an extension of cross training.
8) Job shadowing: Encourage employees to observe others for a half-day, full-day or longer periods of time.
9) Coaching: Provide one-on-one or team coaching for performance improvement; hire an outside coach when needed.
10) Video learning: At home, at work, on the Web
11) Audio learning: Podcasts, CDs, streaming radio
12) Interviewing: Schedule interviews with employees who already perform the job well.
13) Job switch: Temporarily or permanently allow employees to switch job functions.
14) Mentoring: Develop an internal mentoring program.
15) Hands-on Training / Simulations: Use real-time, on-the-job training opportunities.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of employee training methods. Yet, I hope that this list has motivated you to consider more than a “one-size-fits-all” approach to choosing the right training option.
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