When thinking of team training, you might envision your staff off location, sitting in a conference room for one or two days. A facilitator or trainer, and other experts from your company, lead the team through a series of exercises and training sessions. As we wrote in Is Employee Training Only for Large Companies?, training is vital to the success of your organization. But, two days away from the workplace can cut into productivity.
And having to wait for those scheduled off-site days can be problematic too. Maybe you’ve just hired ten new employees and you need to bring them up to speed right away. When it comes to training new employees, you want to optimize your onboarding efficiency.
Fortunately, with elearning, there are myriad ways to provide just-in-time training to new employees, which can be integrated into the work day and your learning management system.
Here are 13 ideas that you can use to boost your team training right now, off- or on-site, in the office or online.
1. Produce more and shorter orientation videos for new employees
Videos can be a reliable and scalable way to share the mission of the company, expectations, procedures and resources with new employees. But don’t make the mistake of trying to make one single comprehensive video that covers everything. Short and snackable is generally better, and it allows you to update individual pieces easily or to customize which content an individual employee needs.
Simple screencasts, for example, can be used to demonstrate processes such as how to use your email system, how to set up voicemail and how your timekeeping system works.
2. Use demo videos for emphasis
Even if your team training activities are in person to demonstrate how to use equipment, handle customer service or practice safety, a demo video following up can reinforce the same content. Some employees will need the second time over the material and may prefer the opportunity to pause and review.
Intimidated by producing video? Learn more about creating videos for online courses in our article, You Got This: Easy Video Creation Tools for Online Courses.
3. Use social networking to build relationships
Create an internal Facebook page for employees to ask questions and receive answers from their peers on specific topics. These are also useful for coaches and mentors to stay connected with your team.
4. Establish a coaching and mentoring microsite
Coaching helps improve an employee’s performance, is generally less formal than most team training and focuses on the needs of the individual.
Senior or veteran employees can be an ideal resource for employees who want to ask questions or get support, encouragement, and feedback. Mentors can also help with goal setting and suggest effective strategies. On a microsite, volunteer mentors post a brief profile on their background and expertise. Employees can introduce themselves and potentially find a coach or mentor who is not their immediate supervisor.
5. Promote web meetings or webinars for team training and collaboration
Web meetings enable employees who work remotely or in other locations to join colleagues in real time. Webinars allow the trainer to be online and in view, similar to in-classroom instruction, making the experience more personal and allowing employees to ask questions in real time.
Web meeting or webinar tools such as GoToWebinar, Microsoft Office Live Meeting, Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro and CiscoWebEx are some of the most commonly used tools to bring a small team together.
6. Create a discussion board, wonder wall or graffiti wall
A discussion board is a great place for participants to discuss topics with each other during a training course, and a great place for instructors to provide additional information.
A wonder wall is sometimes used in “flipped learning,” which combines online learning and in-classroom instruction. A wonder wall is a place for participants to write their thoughts or add topics for discussion.
A graffiti wall uses flip charts or whiteboards, either virtual or in-classroom, for participants to write “graffiti” about a topic, including their opinions and feelings.
Storytelling engages your team and helps them to retain information longer. It is a tried and true way of teaching a lesson and can be done in person or through online video.
Who are the best storytellers in your organization? Consider recruiting them for some of your group training sessions especially if they have an expertise that employees need to learn. Involve your instructional designer to produce a well-written story.
8. Make the review step fun instead of a rehash
In his article, Strategies for Engaging Adult Learners – Enhance Learning Outcomes, training expert Robert W. Lucas recommends using fun activities for reviews. He says, “Rather than simply reviewing key concepts covered during your session, engage learners to do that for you.”
He uses a version of the “hot potato” game using music and tossing something to engage all participants. Other fun training activities you can use during reviews include:
- Create a wheel with review questions on it, then randomly call learners up to spin the wheel and see if they can correctly answer the question.
- Use the Jeopardy game on an interactive whiteboard. Split the group into two teams to vote on the question. The team with the highest number of correct answers wins. Find templates at JeopardyLabs.com.
9. Set up an internal blog and invite employees to contribute
Some people on your team will express themselves to peers better through the written word, and they all will have observations and stories to share that will surprise you. Giving them an opportunity to contribute articles to an internal blog will help your team bond and to contribute leadership on a range of topics.
Likewise, strategies for career development and leadership can come from your veteran or senior employees through blogs on your intranet.
10. Use a questions bucket
After you finish each module of your team training, ask employees to write down their questions and add them to a bucket. Then ask participants to take turns pulling out a question and answering it.
You can even throw in your own questions that have nothing to do with the training material, such as “Where is your favorite vacation spot?” If the group knows in advance that they may be asked to participate at random, they’ll be sure to pay closer attention throughout the training.
11. Break up your employee training with energizers
All good trainers know to open their session with an ice-breaker or two, but energizers sprinkled throughout the day will help participants stay alert. Small group discussions, break-out sessions for problem-solving, quizzes, stretch breaks and even a quick game are all good ways to energize your class.
Running your course online? No problem. Break up your instruction with frequent, interactive quizzes to assess how well your learners are absorbing the material.
Try a few today to start building your team
Trained employees are happy employees and that gives your organization a competitive advantage. This means team training should be an ongoing commitment to your workforce.
So pick three ideas from the list above, incorporate them into the workplace and watch your training program kick it up a notch.