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Need to Train New Hires - Some Quick Tips.

At the end of a long, warm and hopefully relaxing summer, many of us Canadians have taken the time to enjoy a few sunny days or more away from work. Fall is arriving and it’s time to get down to business. 

A recent article in Workopolis.com, referenced that two of the months with the most jobs posted are October and November. That means it is likely that a lot of you are revving up the hiring process or getting ready to welcome new colleagues.  On the upside, now there are new employees, fresh energy, ideas, skillsets, and brain power focused on your success! If this is the case, then it is a good time to think about your onboarding training.

Many estimates have been done on the cost of hiring – the internet has several handy calculators and formulas to help you out. Most estimates start at about the 50% mark of an annual salary and spike up after that for managers or specialized employees. The more sophisticated calculations realize that much of that cost is getting your new hire up to speed. So let's make every dollar count!

As a rule, structured training is essential for any organization with more than 50 employees or learners. With so much information to “train” while integrating and inspiring new members, creating an onboarding program requires expertise to separate out your content and help you determine what is suitable for self-study, online learning, classroom instruction and learning on-the-job.

It may be amazing to hear, but even instructional designers know that some things don’t need to be trained per se. The trick is figuring out all the how’s of information transfer. 

Continue reading to find out about three unusual tips from experienced instructional designers, on putting together your onboarding training as part of a broader retention strategy.

So how can you make the onboarding process more rewarding for new hires? You need to find that elusive balance between overwhelming them with information and connecting them with your organization, so you can make the transition easier, more productive and more long-term.

 

Some Things You Don't Need to Train

Don’t overestimate the importance of a simple information supply. Some things really can and should be provided as reading material such as: basic workplace rules and regulations, codes of conduct and simple policy and procedural updates. For reference material such as this it is critical that it is accessible and always timely and updated. And yes, you can just require people to read about it!  Despite the importance of having access to this information, it won’t necessarily create a bond with the work. Your people and your organizational culture will create the bond.

 

Some Things You Do

"You don't have to be crazy to work here, we'll train you"   

Generally, you will develop training because you want specific knowledge, ability and/or behavioural outcomes. Training for new employees is not just about the information provided, it is also about conveying your culture, company philosophy and priorities, with an expectation that selected behaviours will be demonstrated in the workplace.

Dividing up your content into various delivery methods is a delicate balance of meeting objectives, using development/ delivery/ travel dollars wisely, and ultimately, creating successful new hires ready to integrate into your workplace. Your end result is a well-planned onboarding product, that may consist of a combination of online learning, classroom sessions, and formal and informal on-the-job training (meet-the-boss lunch and learn anyone?).

You can demonstrate exactly what you consider to be the areas of most importance to your company and put the focus on what needs to be done right to be successful in your organization.

 

Let the Culture Take Over

Some things are clearly NSFW (not safe for work) and will be obvious to a qualified hire. OTOH, (on the other hand), there is some knowledge gained simply by being part of the culture.  Do you commonly use certain TLAs (three-letter acronyms)?

If you spend your time with FOMO (fear of missing out), it might just be easier to demonstrate rather than prohibit. If the rules are strictly NIMBY (not in my backyard), they may need to be stated more clearly. 

 

...BTW

Developing training material is not just for new employees. Some of your training materials may be useful as part of the intake process to help prospective employees understand your environment as part of their decision to join and apply.

The process of determining what information should be simply provided and what information is conveyed through formal training is usually very eye-opening for an organization as it helps you to focus on what critical behaviours and demonstrated values are needed for a successful team.

Regardless of the methodology used, experience and knowledge take time to develop and learning on the job is an essential component for any new employee success process. If you're not sure where to start ... we are! Let us sit down with you, take your piles of content, your knowledge of your business, and we can help you outline a marvelous onboarding package...including a top-notch e-learning component to get your new hires started. They will thank you for giving them everything they need to be successful! 

The Future of Virtual Reality Infographic

Some interesting information about the future of Virtual Reality. 

What I find interesting, is that right now here are actually about 188 headsets available on Amazon (apparently the Oculus Rift is one of the best). The top 10 industries to use VR is the future include Gaming, Healthcare, Engineering, Real Estate, Military & Education.

 

How E-learning and Upskilling Directly Affect Your Success and Bottom Line.

The business world is constantly changing and reinventing itself. To succeed in this dynamic environment, I believe that every organization must have a training plan just to keep up.

Training builds an ability to look outward collectively and face the future as it arrives.  It prepares you and your colleagues to hit the ground running ahead of the competition.

A smart training strategy remains one of the best ways to get new material to the people that need it in your organization – and to get critical information flowing back from them.

 

Why Train at all

Traditionally, there are two main drivers for training. 

  1. To provide new information to an employee or client about a product, service or business practice, to solve an existing problem or head off one on the horizon. 
  2. To upskill employees by distributing already existing information throughout your organization.
  3.  

Upskilling?

Training was often targeted at only new hires or to those recently promoted or transferred. Increasingly though there is a focus on upskilling to develop and improve all employees.

In fact, there are at least four ways to offer a full spectrum of quality training products to your employees.

 

Training as Change Management

Change is constant in every facet of our lives.  Unfortunately, change is reflective so we can’t see it until it is gone.  We can only look back and say, “Hey, remember when there was a phone with only one camera?”

Training experiences attune employees to the effects of change and give them an outlet to share their insights.  A primed work force will be better able to rise up to meet the new challenges; to be able to look up and see where we are headed.

Good training forces us to stop, take stock, look ahead, and then act. 

 

Training as Internal Communication  

Training builds new communication lines.  It is that simple. 

Training is an opportunity to share knowledge, demonstrate expertise and establish cross connections within your organization.  When knowledge workers are given avenues to mentor or input to training as subject matter experts, they enthusiastically share their knowledge.  Even busy team leaders and executives will take a few minutes to share ideas and expertise through videos, voice-overs or interactive chat sessions. Engage your experts to share their knowledge, build pride and connections.

In fact, during the training development process, we have seen subject matter experts have rich discussions and make important decisions on their own content...a process they find enormously helpful. 

A well-designed eLearning course, for example, uses experts from your organization to identify the knowledge and skill gaps and then develop the content to fill those gaps. 

 

Training as Knowledge Review

In this digital age, we have achieved so many things, but it does have a downside:  information overload. It seems we are either not saving the right information or saving everything ever written!  Who amongst us hasn’t diligently saved every thread of every important email, only to be unable to find THE critical one a few weeks later!  What do you keep, what do you throw out and what do you pass on?  What is a piece of business-critical information and what is peripheral or contextual?  Putting together a training program requires leaders to take stock and agree on the critical business information that people need to be successful in their role.

Let a good Instructional Designer weed through the fluff to help direct the focus of your content.

 

Training for Millennials

Recent information from the Conference Board of Canada finds that Canadian employers are increasingly delivering learning services to their employees. Both the number of hours allocated and the cost spent per employee for learning and development are up in 2018. Other sources confirm this upward trend, with over 50% of surveyed companies saying they spend more than $1000 per employee per year. Training, once perceived as a perk, is a requirement for Millennials and Gen Z.

As training professionals, we understand this and can build training plans and design assets that meet all your needs.

 

Call us to have a chat about what YOUR organization might need.

Get ready to learn!

Learning is ubiquitous in our information rich and dynamic world constantly shaping and refining what we know and how we think.

Learning is a natural and empowering thing and one of the most gratifying experiences we have as human beings. From scanning a newsfeed, to mastering a skill or completing a multi-year academic program, we have always shared, celebrated, applied, and grown with each new learning experience.

In the past, formal learning was based on transferring standardized information augmented by life and professional experiences. Tests were developed to ensure that received knowledge was transferred and achievements could be itemized in a bullet list. However, the rate of knowledge churn is increasing to the point where in the time it takes to gain knowledge, that knowledge may have changed!

We already see and accept the need for constant learning. In the future, we can expect skill and knowledge acquisition to be seamlessly interconnected with our ongoing experiences through self-directed, multi-disciplinary learning creating a rich, dynamic learning story.

 

Your Learning Story

Learning in the future will no longer need to use a one size fits all model for delivery and success criteria. Training opportunities will be personalized - self-directed, timely, interactive, and responsive. Each learner will be able to enhance, improve, and update their own learning and affect those of their peers. Organic evaluation mechanisms will include performance changes, learner decisions and choices, and peer consensus.

Weaving together skills and knowledge acquisition, well designed tools using augmented reality, virtual reality, and AI will help feed into your learning story. Using delivery methods from podcasts, social media, trusted SME sources, interactive video, virtual classrooms, peer support and feedback, learning opportunities will be seamlessly incorporated into our daily personal and professional lives.

Most training today takes into account the single data point of learner achievement. With technologically enhanced methods and tools, a learning story will integrate knowledge and skills with experiences to describe, respond, and evolve with the learner while highlighting opportunities to explore.

 

Knowledge and Skills

Skills, both technical and interpersonal, will play a greater role in defining your learning story. Curiosity and social awareness will drive interactive scenarios and pathways that develop professional, updated skills as learning objectives and successful outcomes.

In an information driven environment, a significant issue is to identify and incorporate change management. Knowledge updating will be driven by and added to your story in combination with expert tools to deliver ongoing strategic overviews and source awareness as required. We will always be emotionally engaged, mentally focused and physically involved in our own learning. Fortunately, when we get it right, it is both rewarding and profitable. In the future, it will also be a deeply personal and individual story.

Training designers can prepare their clients for these changes by leveraging flexible learning platforms and learning management systems today and connecting with progressive ideas and communities. Clients can ensure their training service providers are considering innovative approaches that ensure their learning objectives are met.  Contact us to see how we can help you achieve your training goals.

Why is Microlearning Great for Everyone?

They say that the average goldfish has an attention span of 9 seconds, which is not very long. Well, the humans have that beat! According to several studies, the average adult attention span is now at 8 seconds. In 2000, the average adult attention span was at 12 seconds. So what does this mean for instructional designers?

Some will argue that the development of technology is a cause for the decrease in attention spans, that we constantly need to be stimulated. Just as in any profession, Instructional Designers must learn to adapt to these changes and get creative with their course design and content. One method to incorporate is microlearning.

Microlearning is an approach to designing and delivering training solutions and assessments that has been embraced by designers and learners. The design strategy is to identify smaller steps on the way to full mastery of a topic or learning goal. It shows that a complete grasp of a topic is not the only way to make progress in a self-motivated adult learning experience. Sometimes, a learner just needs to know one component of learning, they don’t need, or have time for, the ‘all inclusive package’.

Technology allows rich content at nearly any time or place and gives designers a lot more freedom and choice when designing the optimal learning experience. At the end of the day, the goal is to get the learner to understand and embrace what they are learning, but to also make it fun and memorable so that they use it!

 

Point over the Horizon

A microlearning experience is compelling for most learners when they see the next small goal and decide to just “do one more”. To encourage this, the course materials need to be simple and accessible with clear goals and fast feedback. When looking at your course content, look for the smallest parcels of material that be linked but delivered separately. Summarize the main points of any resource and look for end points.

When a learner chooses to progress, it is continuous and relevant– and they are also driven to come back for more and meet the required  learning objectives.

 

Plant Tiny Seeds of Information

Microlearning should always trigger a response for the next module.

It seems that this effect can work even by planting the tiniest kernels of information. Our amazing minds grind away on this information even when we don't know we are doing it. This resting period allows ideas to settle into our minds and become acclimated. It seems that our brains can work unconsciously even if we don't engage with specific information for months – it is better inside our heads than out. 

Each time the learner returns, they know a little more and are a little more interested, engaged and knowledgeable.

 

Maintain your Roads

Designing a course with microlearning components is an exciting innovation in training. However, working on the small scale makes it important to keep the big picture in front of the learner. Insert ways to review or provide a summary of the path along the way both forward and backward. A smart roadway provides a mnemonic resource for learners.

When a learner feels successful, they will be confident to use the knowledge they have gained. And this is where the rubber hits the road for designers. When the client has a successful transfer of knowledge and the learners are confident and happy with their experience, they can use the new knowledge quickly.