We received an inquiry recently on our process implementation page, where we ask: ‘How do you train and communicate with your team?’ A reader from a large school district wrote in saying that their district is in the midst of many changes. The district faces many communications and training challenges, especially when introducing new information technology for employees. The reader went on to ask, ‘How can training improve employee performance?’
Though a school district may be an extreme example, it shares practical challenges similar to many geographically dispersed organizations where employees work independently.
Training Independent Employees
Teachers may work at dozens of locations. Culturally, teachers work independently most of the time and are highly self-directed. Every teacher answers to many customers–classroom parents–to whom they must be responsive. Daily schedules are rigid, driven by the defined length and periods of the school day. Non-class in-service training and meeting time is scheduled long in advance.
Training Distributed Workforce
Any organization with a distributed workforce that works directly with customers faces similar employee training challenges. Does your workforce travel? Do your employees manage customer relationships in the field? Would your field employees skip training if a customer calls? Think: field sales, field service, field engineering, route delivery. For many such organizations, a good training program with in-person group training is probably not practical.
Employee training is still essential. For example, your route sales and delivery professionals across the Americas require training on a new ordering system. As in the case of teachers in a school district, their workdays are prescribed by customer’s strict time constraints. Any time available for training needs to be measured in tens of minutes. Further complicating matters, every employee’s availability is different. And by the nature of their work and work culture, they operate independently.
Clearly, building a effective training program based on inflexible, one-size-fits all classroom training isn’t going work. So what do you do?
Self-Paced User-Driven Training
Self-paced user-driven independently administered training was the answer. So video content was developed in three to 10-minute bites that employees could access at any time. The information was organized so that students could approach the training either sequentially, or as needed during the day. Materials and delivery were customized to work with the limited mobile bandwidth and small screens employees had.
A technology partner configured an online “campus” web site, complete with quizzes and completion-tracking built in so that the corporation knew who had been exposed to the material, and had demonstrated proficiency. Compliance metrics helped the company roll-out new features and capabilities at times when metrics indicted likely acceptance by workers. All of this helped to increase training performance.
Training to Improve Employee Performance
There are many drivers of organizational performance, but training is considered a preventive action that can sharpen skills, raise awareness, and provide a safe space to learn new knowledge. Any your corporation, school district or other organization employing independent workers can look to an online training solution to improve employee performance. While the content can be custom-developed for your organization, you will benefit by sharing the online infrastructure, which can host proprietary video training for any distributed organization.