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Employee Training: Teaching New Tricks

  
  
  

Employee-TrainingBaby Boomers are still working. Even though they’re beginning to retire from their career-centered jobs, 47% of them say they will work after they retire.  So, you can’t assume that your training program geared towards the entering workforce will be effective for your late Boomers. They did not grow up with the same technology used in most training programs, but that doesn’t mean they can’t learn. In fact, they are the generation that spends the most of the latest and greatest pieces of technology. 

The learning curve isn’t as steep as you think

In fact, the field with the highest Boomer growth is teaching. It is one of the best second careers for the aging generation. Many trade schools look for those who have real life experience, and if you can’t learn you can’t really teach. Teachers have to be adept in new and emerging technologies to appeal to their students and provide the best learning experience. And you can do the same for your mature new hires.

“The misconception that boomers do not appreciate tech crosses all generations. I’ve heard it from fellow baby boomers who say, ‘Wow, you’re so into technology,’ and on down to 20-year-olds who are also surprised.” –Marilynn Mobley, Strategic Counselor for Edelman, Boomer Insights Generation Group.

Although they only constitute 25% of the population, they consume nearly double that in technology spend. So, they aren’t as technology inept as most people think. They have a deeper wallet to spend their money on the – as Millennials put it – pricey electronic devices. The Baby Boomers’ financial stability plays a part in their growing technology trend.

It’s not retirement; it’s reengagement

They grew up in a generation focused on hard work and just because they’ve reached legal retirement age and now fully qualify for Social Security, that doesn’t mean they are ready to settle down yet. “Reengagement,” as it’s called, refers to the restlessness many newly retired people experience after some down time at home or vacationing. On average, this phase is 9 years of contingent work or self-employment.

“I often think about dogs when I think about work and retirement. There are many breeds of dog that just need to be working, and useful, or have a job of some kind, in order to be happy. Otherwise they are neurotically barking, scratching, or tearing up the sofa. A working dog needs to work. And I am a working dog.”—Martha Sherrill, Author of Dog Man

Baby Boomers, even though they may be retired, are not ready to stop working... or stop learning for that matter. Boomers are ready and willing to learn, they just learn differently. They just won’t get the most out of your Millennial-focused training program. Why? Millennials are optimistic team- oriented learners and they function best in active learning situations. Boomers, on the other hand, love learning for the sake of learning and require interaction and discussion time. Adjust your training program to tend to both generations’ strengths.

Then it’s leisure

This “leisure” time isn’t necessarily leisurely. Most retirees expect some type of health problems in their later years that will prevent them from working. So, it’s not that they don’t want to work after a certain age, 77% just believe they won’t be able to due to impending health issues. The entirety of retirement isn’t just someone’s life on the decline. A job in the first phase of retirement is a second career for most people; the last phase, on the other hand is the leisure the word "retirement" suggests. That leisure stage isn’t necessarily by choice, it’s often forced by health reasons.

“Musicians don’t retire; they stop when there’s no more music in them.” –Louis Armstrong

Just because Baby Boomers are retiring from their first careers doesn’t mean they won’t or can’t have a second. Boomers are just as likely to be technologically savvy as their Millennial coworkers; however, simply because they did not grow up during the technology age, it is expected they don’t know the devices. This just isn’t true. They can afford the expensive devices and are ready to learn new things in an interactive environment. That’s why it is important to keep them in mind when developing or adjusting your training programs. Yes, Millennials are entering the workforce and a fast pace, but their parents and grandparents are back in the office ready and willing to keep up. 

With Cyber Train, your company has the ability to train employee performance and ensure compliance with federal regulations. Get ride of the spreadsheets, overflowing filing cabinet, and endless reams of paper. Try the demo of the solution your training program needs and give us a call!

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Tools to Get You Started on Your ATS Quest

  
  
  

ATSMaking the decision to buy or rent an ATS (or change your ATS provider) is a big one. Of course, your company has certain needs, some of which are more important than others. However, one size doesn’t fit all. We’ve provided a Comparison Tool to guide you towards the ATS that is the perfect fit for your company. It’s a $4 billion industry and is expected to grow at least 20% in 2014. So the question becomes: how is your ATS keeping you competitive in recruiting when the ball is in the candidates’ court.

Some Things to Keep in Mind

You will want a product that you can scale and customize for your company size and structure. One size does not fit all; pay attention to your employer brand and what it requires from an automated system. While many ATS providers offer a variety of basic needs, companies need configurable features that are convenient and provide reporting features in order to stay compliant with federal employment regulations. So what does your company need? That is something to think about before you start your quest for an effective ATS.

So What Should It Have?

Support, configuration, experience, the standards: must have’s in any ATS. Unless you have a highly proficient IT team, a company or SaaS (software as a service) that offers a support system for technical difficulties or trouble shooting if needed is necessary.

“My HR department is pretty smart, so I don’t think they’d really need tech support.” 

False. Recruiters and hiring managers are required to attract and bring in the best of the best from the talent pool. However, that can’t happen if your team doesn’t use the ATS properly. Everyone falls into a groove of doing things in their own way. This doesn’t become an issue until their methodologies fall short of the software’s capability, so the ATS ultimately doesn’t perform optimally.

“I can’t change it to company needs, but that’s okay. I’m sure it’ll be just fine.” 

False. Especially for small businesses, a configurable and easily integrated ATS is a must. Only 70% of small businesses (companies with fewer than 1,000 employees) have talent acquisition software; only 13% of them rate their talent acquisition process as more than moderately effective.

“The candidate experience doesn’t start until the interviewthe ATS won’t affect my employer brand.” 

False. Applicants begin forming opinions of your company and company culture from the moment they begin filling out the forms and answering the questions… before they even hit the online “submit” button. Your employer brand is vital to acquiring quality talent. So, correspondence thereafter is critical as well. Don’t add to the 77% of candidates that never hear back from the employer; use the ATS automation capabilities.

The Bare Bones

ATS often fall short when it comes to internal searches on received resumes and applications. You will want to find a system that optimally functions with search capabilities to reduce wasted time. These systems aren’t going to do you any good if you can’t search the data. Data that can’t be measured is useless. A system that can provide metric reports is ideal so you can see (with numbers) what portions of your job need improvement. Make sure your ATS has:

Individual Candidate Tracking

ATS are complicated software programs that make the job of a hiring manager and a recruiter more streamlined and simpler. They should be easy to use and offer industry standards like metrics and simple integration. In the last 5 years, there has been an explosion in the number of ATS and e-recruitment providers all offering different solutions for different business needs. So, take a moment to look at some companies that peak your interest. We have compiled an Applicant Tracking System Comparison Tool, and for your convenience we have already filled out the features and benefits of Cyber Recruiter. With a plethora of options available to you, Cyber Recruiter is the ideal solution to ensure vital recruiting details are not missed during the hiring and onboarding processes.

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Why Hire Slow, Fire Fast May Not Be the Best Advice

  
  
  

Advice

“The startup community loves to latch onto a corny catchphrase, but this latest gem to guide hiring isn’t just dumb, it’s counterproductive.” –Danny Boice, Co-Founder and CTO of Speek.

Boice says it perfectly, “Hire slow, fire fast,” isn’t always the best option simply because it is counterproductive. Budding companies don’t have the luxury that their larger counterparts have to leisurely find their dream catch or candidate. They are pressed for time as they grow under pressure of their clients. Slow is simply not an option in the grand scheme of things. But even larger companies who have the resources to take their time in finding that perfect new hire, strain their current employees with a higher workload.

Time and Money

You’re on your way to work, and suddenly your car blows a head gasket. Now, the problem is you have to find another way to get to work and drive the kids to soccer practice. So do you rent a car until you can get it fixed or do you wait until you can buy a new car outright? You’re probably going to want to fill the gap with a rental.

Losing an employee is hard for any company, startups and corporations alike. But when you fire fast, it takes more time to look for and hire their replacement. So considering it takes at least half of a previous employee’s salary to replace them, why on earth would you take more time than you need to do so?

It takes 6-9 months for companies to hire a new person in place of a previous employee on average. Hiring for skills and culture, should not by any means, take that long.

Pressure and Volume

You just built a tree house for your kids. You decided that you didn’t need the fourth piece of 4x4, so you just skipped it, hoping the other three 4x4s could handle the weight. Well, your kids have friends over and you see the 4x4s wiggle as they climb up the ladder…

When an employee decides they are either unhappy in their job, or they find a new and bigger opportunity, there is an undoubted amount of pressure to hire their replacement. Realistically, however, that pressure doesn’t come from their departure, but rather the workload they leave behind. Hiring fast saves other employees from working past their limit and taking work home in order to compensate for the missing man-hours. Don’t leave your other employees responsible to hold up the work on their own; don’t let them buckle under the pressure. Find the new employee, and find them fast. 

Even still, when you fire an employee, someone has to pick up the extra work. Letting someone go slowly gives other employees a chance to acclimate to the extra work over a longer period of time.  It takes an average of 54 days, almost 2 months to hire a new employee. Shave some days off your company average time-to-hire to save your current employees from an unnecessarily heavy workload.

Productivity and Quality

You come home from a long day at work and you can sense something is amiss. The living room sofa is destroyed, stuffing everywhere. You walk around the house, and you can’t find your dog, the obvious culprit. Well that’s because he’s hiding; he knows he has done something wrong. So, he runs into the yard before you can discipline him, leaving you franticly trying to find him again. Bad news: he escaped the yard!

In the absence of someone filling the role that recently became vacant, your employees are expected to be more productive. However, the quality will most likely suffer with a heavier workload. When the company is a major player in a quality-centric industry, there is little room for a slip in quality.  So firing slow is a good option, keeping an employee on board until you have another ready to… well, onboard.  However, employees can often see their demise coming, so prepare for a potential premature quit. Jacqueline Smith, contributor to Forbes, says:

Companies aren’t (generally) in the business of wasting money; this includes the avoidance of redundancy. So if you see that someone has been brought in with your same skill set, and is being trained for duties much similar to yours, unless there is a very clear reason for such an expansion, you should worry about the future of your job.

Hiring fast saves the company precious time and money, allowing employees to feel at ease when a coworker is let go. Don’t let your projects suffer in timeliness and quality while you wait for the “perfect” new hire.  Your clients won’t be happy, neither will your employees. Hiring fast, firing slow is a better alternative to hiring slow and firing fast because your company can prepare for the departure of employees. 

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4 Easy Equations to Better Understand Millennials' Training Needs

  
  
  

Training

Millennials are often considered entitled, lazy, and everything in between. Not a very good stereotype to try and enter the workforce with. People ask if they are ready for the workforce because they are generally assumed to be lackadaisical when it involves responsibility. The real question, however, is whether the workforce is ready for the Millennials. The twenty-somethings entering (or already in) the office are more apt to quit a job if it’s not everything they hoped for or everything the recruiter said it would be. However, training Millennials properly can save your company the heartache of seeing them go.

1. Understanding the meaning of “success” in the eyes of a Millennial

They are unlike generations that precede them. Millennials appreciate the value of a good day’s work, and they don’t necessarily expect the value to be reciprocated monetarily. They are the most civic-minded generation since their great grandparents, or the Greatest Generation, with a total of 1 billion hours accrued by Millennials alone in 2008. So keeping that in mind, how does an organization reward an employee who doesn’t want the typical prize? Although recent graduates are often strapped for cash, they value the “can-do” attitude and a positive self-image over tangible awards.

Intrinsic rewards > Extrinsic rewards 

2. These are not the training programs they’re looking for…

Textbooks, manuals, words… Millennials simply aren’t attuned to this kind of training. They are a highly technology-savvy generation, with a preference to work in teams. So, training them might seem a bit more involved and complicated. Gamification takes the guesswork out of the equation for those managing the twenty-somethings entering the workforce. If a well-trained employee isn’t enough to transition your training program to something a bit more interactive, maybe a turnover reduction of 36% is.

Take advantage of their tech literacy since they innately know how to use everything with a screen. In fact, 81% of Millennials have a smartphone. Training programs that incorporate tablets, smartphones, or up-and-coming technology are more apt to maintain the engagement of an increasingly mobile generation.

Technology + Training + Millennials = Targeted Training Program

3. Two Millennials are better than one

There is no “I” in teamwork… cliché as it may be, it’s true for the working Millennials. They prefer to work in teams, and bounce ideas off of each other. Besides the fact they enjoy working together better than alone, 62% of Millennials honestly believe it makes a great deal of difference in the quality of their work. Teamwork is the key to creating an effective training program for Millennials in the workplace. 

Johnson & Johnson promotes teamwork in a different way. They encourage supervisors and managers to take 12-minute breaks instead of their typical lunch hour. What they do with these 12-minute breaks throughout the day is unique. The company asks managers to take this time and talk with new employees. In this time, they can give Millennials insights and Millennials can do the same. 

Millennial x (Millennial + Mentor) = Higher Quality Work 

4. If they work hard, let them play harder… at work.

Recruiters aren’t too excited about hiring Millennials as 68% of them find it hard to manage the twenty-somethings. The reason it is so difficult: they simply don’t know how to manage them, much less train them. Millennials don’t want to see a paycheck that has 60 hours of work they didn’t work for. They need a challenge; they crave a challenge. Millennials need change, challenge, and chance in the workplace in order to perform at their best. Foster their quest for curiosity in the office by initiating a training program that caters the generation’s inquisitiveness.

Traditional Training Material ÷ (Curiosity + Challenge) = Engaged Trainees

Understanding that Millennials require a different system of rewards is the first step in transitioning your training program to their needs. A higher score and little bit of friendly competition in the office lasts longer than the cash padding their wallets. They know the value of teamwork and opinions other than their own. So, they greatly benefit from mentor programs. Millennials aren’t hard to train, they just need a different training program than their parents and grandparents. Cyber Train allows you to align company goals with Millennial performance. Give us a call and request a demo today to see how Cyber Train can benefit your Millennial training program.

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Training Tracking System: Buy or Rent?

  
  
  

TrainingDo I rent or buy? It’s a good question for those moving from an apartment to a house, but an even better question for those looking for a training tracking system. Should I buy a house so I can paint the walls and make it my own? Or should I rent it so I don’t have to mow the yard? You could ask yourself similar questions to buying or renting a training tracking system. Should I buy a system so I can control and manipulate the data? Or should I rent a system so I don’t have to worry about the technology required? This post won’t tell you if you should buy or rent a system, that’s for you and your HR leaders to decide. It will however, give you the tools you need to decide which is a better fit for your company.  

Do I Buy It?

The capability to change and manipulate data is a big seller to buying the software. When you buy the software, it is fully yours. You can convert information because it is on your system. Now, considering the price tag of many training systems, it may make sense for your team to buy the system if you have the money upfront. These are key benefits to buying your own system:

·      Flexibility: It’s just like buying a house. Once you own it you can change and adapt it to your liking. Basically it’s your software, your database, your rules.

·      All Yours: Companies keep any given training software system for about 2 years, then they search for the latest and greatest. Assuming you’ve done your research and made the wise decision, there is no reason to change training software programs more often than that.

      Bang for Your Buck: Normally the price tag of buying a system is about the same as renting it for two years. Typically a company will keep their training system for two years; however, you can keep it longer. It is forever yours when you buy it. Find the training system that provides the biggest bang for your buck.

Do I Rent It?

Sometimes it’s just easier to know the software is in someone else’s hands. They have the technology and resources to handle it. And quite frankly, it’s nice to have smaller payments. Here is why some companies prefer to rent a training system:

·      They don’t have the tech resources: Renting a system means that someone else is responsible for the technological resources it requires to house an entire training system. Since someone else is in charge it means your IT team doesn’t have to deal with it when things go wrong.

·      They don’t have financial wiggle room: If your company doesn’t have the biggest financial cushion, renting might be a better option… at least at first. It gives you the solutions you’ve been looking for and the solutions you’ve needed without the added financial burden of purchasing a system.

·     They’re looking for an easier buy-in: Renting normally equates to a lower monthly statement. The price tag and the minimal contracts that usually accompany a system rental are easier to sell to higher management.

So then there’s the question: how do you determine which is best for your company? That’s for you to decide. Company growth and culture has an impact on the decision to buy or rent training software. You have to weigh the pros and cons to make an educated decision on which method and which company will fit your needs best. Still need help deciding? Have a chat with the experts. Here at Visibility, we will match you with a current client that is knowledgeable of your industry and the size of your organization.

Take a demo of Cyber Train, or give us a call. We can get started on matching you with your training software mentor.

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How the U.S. Navy Improved Training with Video Games

  
  
  

Train

Kinesthetic learners make up over one-third of the population, so most people learn by doing. This is where games come in. Using games in the workplace combines all of the senses, not to mention all three learning types (visual, auditory, and kinesthetic). Gamification (game-if-ick-ation) can increase employee skill adaptation by at least 40% by utilizing behavior-motivating strategies. Especially with the entrance of Millennials into the workforce, gamification is gaining prevalence in employee training.

3D: Beyond it is another dimension…

Gabe Zichermann, Founder and Chief Executive at Dopamine Inc., says there are three aspects to gamification that make it functional in the workplace: feedback, friends, and fun. Of course feedback is important during training, but friends and fun? People respond to friendly competition. Using games puts this in a light-hearted and fun atmosphere.

·      Feedback: what good is it going to do if it is just a game? Employees have to be aware of where they stand on the learning curve during the game. If they perform well during the game, they need to know.

·      Friends: a little friendly competition never hurt. In fact, it’s necessary. Fighting for the highest score, or the most coins (in the case of Mario), is motivation for employees to do better.

·      Fun: if it’s fun, they will come. An employee who enjoys the training program is more likely to return for more. In combination with a rewards program that is a good cultural fit for the company, gamification results in a more effective training program.

Some organizations are taking the 3 dimensions of gamification more literally. The Navy for instance, needed fast, quality training in a real-time setting. What did they turn to? 3D games. After the implementation of the new training program, the Navy saw a 50% improvement in recruit performance. It was apparent that the trainees were more highly engaged in the training because they barely even glanced at the supervisors.

Link Behavior With Organization Goals

Telling John, “You’re just not meeting company goals,”  is telling him he’s not performing at par,  and gamification can make that tangible. Your employees will be able to see where they are and are not performing well according to company standards depending on the levels they complete in the training game. HR leaders convert the scoreboard or leaderboard information to what it means at the business level.

As your employees begin to play better and ultimately perform better, you’ll see a rise in engagement. According to a survey by Aberdeen, companies who use gamification as a training tool see an improvement in employee engagement by 48% compared to the organizations that don’t. Even more impressive, gamification is shown to reduce turnover by 36%.

Intrinsic Rewards

Yes, people love cash bonuses. These extrinsic rewards however, quickly devalue the benefits of gamification. Failures of gamification in the workplace are the result of using extrinsic rewards instead of intrinsic. The rise engagement organizations see after implementing gamification into their training programs are the intrinsic rewards. Games stimulate healthy competition, skill mastery, and recognition. Learning by doing fosters a “job well done” atmosphere, which can also raise employee engagement by at least 30%.

Trending in workplace training is the use of games. Yes, games. Gamification raises employee engagement, performance, and skill adaptation with an internal want to do better, connecting performance to company goals, and fostering an atmosphere of friendly competition. Deploying a gamification program could increase employee performance in your organization, like it did for the Navy. How effective is your training program? It’s time for you to take a second look.

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Why the Talent You Want Doesn't Want You

  
  
  

TalentThe average professional receives an average of 304 business emails a day. As a recruiter, a great portion of the day is probably spent wading through an inbox and shipping out messages to applicants or qualified candidates. Though the first email was sent in 1971, the practice of emailing has yet to go out of style completely. 

With 3.6 billion email accounts in the world, chances are you have been using email to create or keep conversation with candidates and applicants. In fact, with online recruiting saving 50% of the cost-per-hire, not using email to at least start dialogue is very rare. What isn’t so rare is the amount of times an email sends recruiting communication to a dead halt. With the right recruiting software, you can take the guesswork out of your process and keep your candidates from saying these 3 things. 

“I had no idea who wanted to hire me.”

We’ve all received the email or phone call from a mysterious, yet excited sender; the one that starts with an upbeat greeting and is brimming with flattery. The problem lies in how vague the content is overall. There is a name, but no company. A title but no explanation as to what the recruiter is contacting in regards to.

Credibility is immediately lost when no established relationship between the recruiter and the company is made. With 43% of email recipients sending messages to their spam folder simply based on the “from” name, you’re already battling tough odds.

A great recruiting software can help a recruiter keep all important details accounted for while still customizing for the recipient, ultimately, getting you a response.

“They didn’t want me, they wanted anyone. 

Imagine being asked to do something that would usually be a big honor. (Think: A huge promotion or giving a speech at a big event.) Now imagine that right after being asked, there is a follow up question of, “if you can’t, do you know someone who can?” The numbers behind referral program success is huge. In fact, 70% of the time, referred employees are found to fit company culture and values better than hires from elsewhere while also having higher retention rates (46% stay for at least 3 years).

Part of sparking a candidate’s interest lies in making he or she feel as though they are the one suited for the job. Having a general, “tell your friends about us!” statement is only going to make an individual feel as though you are desperate and looking for people to fill desks. Whether the company is large or small, an applicant wants to feel as though they will be making a difference with their position.

Don’t ask for referrals on first contact. Get through the hiring process before you introduce referral programs. You will have a better idea of the company your new hire keeps while also not looking desperate.

“They were so vague and impersonal, I knew it was a mass email.”

Recruiters see the resume as the first impression of an applicant and, similarly, candidates are looking at an email as a first impression. Again, this may seem like too much work, but one of the best reach out emails I ever received was one written to be mass message friendly.

What made that mass email the best? Well, it still carried the personality of the employer and had the distinct voice of the recruiter. I could see how the recruitment effort and company goals were aligned, while getting a clear picture of how the team operated.

You should capture the voice of the company, be personal with how you present yourself and don’t be afraid to have personality. If you’re having trouble with starting, brainstorm words that fit your company culture and the audience you are hiring. The power of approach could lie in the attitude of your word selection.

Email has been around for a while, leading it to be sometimes seen as a small beginning to the long candidate experience road. Unfortunately, that isn’t so. In fact, email is so important (and annoying to candidates) that there have been websites developed to ensure an email would pass the candidate experience test. Don’t be known as a spam recruiter. Want a better talent pool with the leads you deserve and a more automated yet personal way of communicating? Let’s chat!

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Training is the Coconut Oil of the Workplace [Part Two]

  
  
  

TrainingDid you catch the first part of this two part series on the natural wonders of training? Okay, so there’s nothing very natural about an LMS, but what we’re going for here is that training seems to be the fix-all when it comes to finding a remedy for many of the problems that are trending in the workplace today. Just as coconut oil seems to be the go-to for every problem under the sun, training has proven to be an effective solution for an array of workplace issues.

The Ability to Promote

A recent survey revealed some not so surprising news – the majority of employers greatly prefer to hire and promote internally, but they are unable to do so due to a lack in required skills. When organizations can rely on their current talent supply to fill key positions, it saves sourcing, recruiting and hiring resources. Hiring internally also means that the person filling the position will take less acclimation time, and produce quicker.

The Saratoga Institute estimates that the average cost of finding and hiring someone from outside the company is 1.7 times more than an internal hire.

However, for internal hires and promotions to be a possibility, employers need to start investing in training now, not when they need seats filled. Being proactive about training gives managers options and time to make the right decisions.

Increases Productivity

Do you want to know an industry secret from a pro like me? When people know what they’re doing, they do a better job at it. Seems pretty common sense right? Well there are a ridiculous number of organizations that believe that training isn’t worth the resources. Corporate training pro Kristie Loretta said:

“Whether you present formal workshops or courses to employees or offer hands-on daily training opportunities, you can increase the skill and work product level of your employees by implementing ongoing training efforts. It helps individual employees to increase productivity and advance their personal careers while contributing to boost of the bottom line at the same time.”

A study conducted by the National Center on the Educational Quality of the Workforce (EQW) found that on average, a 10% increase in workforce education level led to an 8.6% gain in total productivity.

Deeper Knowledge of Your Talent

When done correctly, training and development can be a powerful tool to discover your own workforce. Training can reveal strengths, weaknesses, hidden skills and even vital feedback. This is why every training program needs proper tracking and the solicitation of feedback from the learners. Leaders can then identify talent needs, predict skill issues and improve upon their training methods regularly.

For instance, the training feedback form might empower an employee to ask about further, or specific training opportunities in a field of strength or interest to them. You might never know about this interest, unless they were give the opportunity to inform you. Tim Donnelly of Inc.com offers some suggestions on soliciting employee feedback via surveys or forms:

“Professionals say a mix of quantitative questions — asking employees to rate their satisfaction on a five-point scale, for instance — should be mixed with open-ended questions to gain a mix of anecdotal and statistical information.”

Commitment

99.4% of employees expect to be recognized when they do good work. So it has been established that all employees need recognition and rewards, but how? Learning, development and training are actually a prized incentive among today’s workers. Monique Valcour, professor of management at EDHEC Business School said:

“Keep in mind that in addition to helping employees develop and pursue meaningful learning goals, regular career conversations also help to mark progress in development. And they serve as a reminder of the organization’s commitment to employee learning, which in turn strengthens employee commitment.”

We could do a part 3, but I think you get it. Training could be (and is most likely) the cure-all that your organization needs to combat disengagement, turnover, lack of commitment and so much more.

Would you like to learn how to step it up with your corporate training efforts? We can help you! Click here.

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Building a Training Department from the Ground Up

  
  
  

TrainingCorporate training is back in a big way. I say “back” because during the recession, we saw a 21% decrease in corporate training spending, according to a recent Bersin by Deloitte report. Companies are now investing more than ever in their training programs for several reasons, but the leading reason could be that 70% of organizations cite “capability gaps” as one of their top five business challenges.

For those organizations that don’t already have an established training program, the time is yesterday to get one off the ground. Let’s take a look at the framework for a ground-up training program.

Gather a Team

You must first determine whether or not you have a suitable pool of talent to choose from internally when assembling your team. If you don’t, you can always hire externally, part-time, or outsource your training team. When offering the position to an internal candidate, it is vital to remember that being good at a job and being good at training others to be good at a job are two very different things.

Trainer candidates must have a firm understanding of the company culture and the values it is based on. They must also have experience, or a talent for teaching others.

Define Needs (Hard and Soft)

A training program for soft skills, such as customer service, office etiquette or workplace communication is going to be very different from a training program focused on hard skills, or specific teachable skills that can be defined and measured. Map out each area for which you see a training need and then define the objectives for each of those programs.

Establish a Budget/Get Exec Buy-In

Training is still considered one of the most discretionary spends in business. Here at Visibility Software, we’ll never get that, but it’s the truth. Getting exec buy-in for an appropriate budget is usually a matter of proving a positive ROI. Let us provide you with a few resources to establish your premise with cold, hard numbers (the language of most executives).

Spending on Corporate Training Soars: Employee Capabilities Now a Priority

5 Crazy Skill Gaps Stats that Every Recruiter Should Know

Skill Gap Stats: 9 Reasons to Thank Recruiters

10 Reasons Why Companies Should Invest More in Management Training

How to Calculate ROI for Training

Software

There is actually a pretty decent amount that any Learning Management Software (LMS) decision makers should know; that’s why we put together a couple of resources to help out. The LMS comparison tool is designed to take the overwhelming task of choosing the right software for your team and putting it in an easy to digest format, to help make sure you get all the tools, features and support that your organization needs. We also offer a short whitepaper defining the Building Blocks of an Effective Training Program.  Imagine that; the right tools to find the right tools.

Solicit Feedback

Soliciting feedback is the most powerful opportunity that you have to improve and fine-tune your program. It’s not going to be a walk in the park, right out of the gate. Also, please remember that just because employees had a good experience, does not mean that they received and retained the necessary guidance or information. 

You should have defined objectives for each training program in the “defining needs” stage. Base your questionnaires or tests off of these objectives in order to see if they were met. Don’t ask “yes” or “no” questions; find out what they actually learned.

So this might be an over simplified version, but really half the battle is taken care of when you choose the right software. Tracking, compliance and the entire process is mapped out, in an easy to manage system. If you would like to find out how to choose the software that will be the cornerstone of your training program, give us a call today!

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Training: The Coconut Oil of the Workplace [Part One]

  
  
  

trainingHave you seen these posts, “The 5,769 Things You Can Do With Coconut Oil”? Every once in a while we find something that just seems to be the cure-all; something that makes life easier in a lot of different ways. Well, we consider training to be the coconut oil for organizations. Training won’t whiten your teeth or speed up your metabolism, but there are a ridiculous amount of areas in which training can drive success in any organization.

Bridging the Skill Gap

A recent CareerBuilder study revealed that 54% of employers currently have open positions for which they can’t find qualified candidates. So unless recruiters worldwide just got crappy at their jobs overnight, there is actually a skill gap. Solid training software, coupled with the right training content, can make the world of difference where your organization’s skill gaps are concerned.

Empowering Workers

Workers need to be empowered with the tools and knowledge to succeed in their positions. There are often times when an under performer or bad attitude aren’t actually the case. Employee development needs to be fostered in order for employees to feel like they’re good at what they do. Workplace leadership expert, Kevin Daum said:

“Budget dollars and time toward management and personal development training. Help employees set a plan for growth, and reward them as they advance. They'll be grateful and apply their newly-learned skills as they step up to leadership opportunities.”

Increasing Employee Engagement

Surprisingly enough, financial motivators lost to non-financial motivators such as opportunities for growth in the workplace, which 76% of respondents in a Badgeville survey chose. It makes perfect sense that a more capable, knowledgeable employee, is going to put more discretionary effort into their work, than an employee who struggles through the day.

Lowering Turnover Rates

Offering career development programs is a proven, effective method for increasing employee retention. When employees see opportunity for advancement within the company, there is less reason to look externally for their personal success. Training expert, Kathy Wellings said:

“If an employer does not offer learning and development opportunities, they risk losing talented staff and ending up with poor performers. Demotivation due to inadequate training or opportunities to learn and to advance within the company forces frustrated employees to look elsewhere for professional and personal satisfaction.”

Improved Customer Service and Support

Whether you’re selling a product or a service, the employees who take care of your customers are going to need the right training to be effective and efficient in all dealings. These people are the face and voice of your organization. Are they projecting the company culture? Do they even know how? 

In customer service positions, employees are quite often not given the authority or direction to effectively fix anything or make a wrong a right for customers. Without the empowerment and freedom to offer customers what they’re looking for, the employee simply becomes a go-between, or someone for the customer to vent to. Bryan Pearson, President and CEO of LoyaltyOne, said:

“The best way to foster loyalty among employees is to empower them to make decisions that improve the customer experience,” he said. “Provide them with the information and customer data that will help them make better-informed decisions in real time.”

Stay tuned next week for the second half of our laundry list of organizational areas in which training can make a positive impact. If you would like to know more right away, we can do that too! Take a demo of Cyber Train, or give us a call right away so we can get started.

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