In the world of modern business, the importance of training in the workplace is a foregone conclusion—it’s a big deal. A great training program drives higher employee engagement, increases productivity, decreases turnover, and saves time for employees and managers alike. However, for many companies, training remains limited to transferring information from a trainer to a new hire. New employees shuffle through endless lectures, binders, Google docs, and Powerpoints to find the information they need to do their job. In fact—that’s why we build Lessonly—to radically improve team learning.
But training is about far more than information transfer. Gallup notes that only 33% of employees feel engaged at work—and transferring information to a disengaged team member is a waste of organizational time and energy. In reality, the primary benefits of training and development in an organization are found when the personal development of employees is championed as much as organizational objectives. Here are four ways to build a people-first culture of training:
Sell the mission
Many businesses provide products or services that solve an everyday problem (i.e these shoes offer better support, this software improves team communication, etc.). Helping trainees understand the product is important—but painting a bigger picture of the mission of the company is even more imperative to long-term employee morale and engagement.
Chris Mills, VP of Talent Attraction and Team Member Relations at DEFENDERS, knows that introducing employees to a larger mission is essential. DEFENDERS helps families find high-quality home security and automation options. But that’s not the purpose they offer their employees—the mission revolves around one primary aim: “We are called to grow & inspire leaders who love & serve people.”
Chris notes, “It’s not just about being successful in your job, it’s about being successful as a person. Businesses don’t grow, people do. And we believe if we can help you be the best you, you’re going to be great for DEFENDERS. But more importantly, you’re going to be great at home.”
On the long list of objectives of training and development, ensure that employees feel a sense of purpose and meaning in their work—their productivity will skyrocket.
What larger purpose are you offering your employees?
Build the culture
While most training focuses on tangible behaviors, one of the many reasons for training is to help employees understand the organizational culture of a business. In the immortal words of Peter Drucker, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” When an employee understands the priorities and norms of the company, their ability to contribute increases exponentially and they make the company better—both inside and out.
DEFENDERS takes culture seriously when training employees, “Everybody starts their very first day in Culture Day. It’s a full day of explaining who we are and what our culture is. We talk about three core values—we’re humble servants, competitive winners, and growth-oriented learners.” For DEFENDERS, these values are at the heart of training. The three tenets of culture serve as the backbone of the business; they define a DEFENDERS team member. That’s why every minute spent on culture during training pays enormous dividends in employee engagement and retention.
What kind of culture does your company champion?
Invest the time
Every manager wants to increase the productivity of their team. Oftentimes, training feels like a drain on an employee’s time and workflow. But quality training is worth the investment of energy, money, and time.
At DEFENDERS, Chris believes that the personal growth of every employee is worth championing. “We have Culture Experience Groups (CEGs) based on small group learning. Employees gather in groups of ten people, go through a book, and discuss the different lessons in it.” But allowing employees time for discussion and growth doesn’t stop with CEGs, Chris says, “We also have an annual national convention where employees pull together, one day out of the year, to focus on themselves, not just their job.” The DEFENDERS leadership team builds the agenda for the day after asking attendees what they want to hear and learn.
The goal of these investments? Chris says that DEFENDERS encourages employees to “work harder on yourself than you do in your job.” This relentless focus on self-improvement in training results in employees that are constantly improving, both personally and professionally.
How are you investing in your team to help them grow?
Cross the divide
Silos are the enemy of a great team. Unfortunately, as a company grows, silos increasingly spring up. Don’t let divisions between business units or departments cause your team to forget the paramount importance of training employees. In onboarding, this division usually happens between Human Resources departments responsible for training new hires, and the front-line business units where they work.
How should a company avoid a disparity between HR and business units? Make training and culture a top priority for business leaders.
“So many companies rely on their HR team to drive culture, and it never happens. Cultural excellence is not made in my HR group—it’s made up of a group of leaders across the business,” Chris notes. DEFENDERS encourages managers across the business to own the responsibility for employee engagement, not relegate it to HR. And it has worked remarkably well. “We have incredible engagement scores, and I believe that’s because over the past few years, we have transitioned ownership of those scores out of the HR team, and to the business leaders.”
When front-line leaders are empowered—and expected—to train, develop, and care for their teams, magic happens. Don’t let HR bear the brunt of onboarding and retention. Every leader and employee in the business should feel the weight of building a business that employees love to work at.
Does your entire organization feel responsible for employee engagement and training?
The benefits of training and development in the workplace far outweigh the investment of time and money in a new employee—if that training is designed with intention and care. Many businesses fail to address mission and culture while investing in their teams and leave training to HR. The true benefits of training programs, as revealed by Chris and DEFENDERS, are found when deep investment in people takes priority over information transfer. Building this sort of training system takes work—but it’s worth the investment.
Modern teams thrive with Lessonly
The training needs of each sales and support team is unique. The best salespeople hone their craft with feedback, input, and enablement. Meanwhile, support teams need fast onboarding that helps them deliver amazing customer service. No matter the job function, employees deserve a training tool that is purpose-built to help them do their best work. That’s why we built Lessonly. Take a tour today.