Today’s marketplace is competitive. It’s full of new products, new sales channels, new customer demands – new everything, really. To equip employees with the right knowledge, behaviors, and skills to keep them ahead of the curve, businesses must invest in developing their people through training. The problem is that most training just focuses on delivering the “what to know” and the “how to do it” without explaining the “why”. And that is where people will find the inspiration to adopt and sustain new behaviors that solve problems.
Nine Steps to Create a Motivating Training Curriculum
- Know Your Business
- Study Your People
- Leverage Existing Internal & External Resources
- Make It Varied
- Make It Tailored
- Involve Managers
- Explain It Before You Launch It
- Deliver It in Bite-Sized Pieces
- Never Give Up on Sustainment
Step 1: Know Your Business
What’s the current state of your business? How does that compare to what you want it to be in the future? When you can honestly answer those questions, you’ll have a better idea of the knowledge, behaviors, and attitudes your people must have to get there. Your people might have some of these traits already – you just need to figure out how to inspire and motivate them to help you close that gap.
Step 2: Study Your People
Check your assumptions and check in with your people. You don’t need to interview every employee, but you should interview a handful and observe a few more to find out what they really need and how they want to receive it. Plus, the best way to determine what motivates and inspires your people is to just ask.
Step 3: Leverage Existing Internal & External Resources
People are more willing to embrace a new behavior if it feels natural, so your curriculum has to let people bring content to life in a way that is authentic to each individual. For example, if all employees follow and interact with your brand on Facebook, reach them there! Consider curating existing and relevant content from YouTube, online magazines, TV programs, and podcasts, and share that on your company Intranet if that’s a place your learners frequent.
Step 4: Make It Varied
A smart curriculum includes complementary experiences, from lunch-and-learns to social channels that allow for peer collaboration and discussions. Since most people use at least two devices at work, consider delivering information across multiple platforms so people can choose what works best – whether it’s their laptop, mobile phone, or tablet – to review articles on your Intranet, courses on your LMS, or YouTube videos.
Step 5: Make It Tailored
An effective curriculum offers training for specific groups. What your managers need to learn isn’t the same as what frontline customer service reps need. Accomplish all your goals by creating an umbrella program and providing tailored tracks and sessions for specific roles.
Step 6: Involve Managers
Managers can be your best ambassadors for motivating and inspiring people. But they’re busy. So what’s the best way to involve them? First, think about the key areas. Then, ask your managers for advice to incorporate into the program, show them how they can incorporate initiatives into the day-to-day operation, and give them the tools they need to inspire and recognize performance.
Step 7: Explain It Before You Launch It
Before kickstarting your curriculum, introduce it the right way. Explain to people how the content is connected and how it has been carefully designed to deliver the knowledge and tools they need to improve as individuals and help the organization succeed. By setting up the experience as a journey – not a series of one-off trainings – people will feel informed and confident about how the program fits into their day, and how they’re connected to organizational success.
Step 8: Deliver It in Bite-Sized Pieces
Studies prove that people learn better in short segments, and it’s much easier to commit to a 10-minute training session than a 90-minute one. Focus on what people need to know – NOT on making them experts. Also, don’t let passionate experts conduct lengthy lectures – people will quickly lose attention or become consumed by looming deadlines. Instead, focus on sharing bite-sized information via podcasts or bi-weekly text messages. There are lots of ways to make learning effective and efficient.
Step 9: Never Give Up on Sustainment
Most organizations have every intention of focusing on sustainment, but let it fall to the wayside because of new initiatives, unexpected projects, and budget cuts. When leaders start to slack in terms of sustaining the information and changed behaviors, so does everyone else. Don’t let people think training is simply a flavor of the week. Take time to figure out what your people respond to – whether it’s regular check-ins with a manager, on-the-job coaching sessions, town halls, or Intranet chats – and do more of that!
Spice Up Your Training
Training doesn’t have to be boring, time consuming, or pointless, which is probably what your people are expecting. The best curricula are ongoing journeys that integrate various learning experiences based on what resonates, inspires, and motivates learners. Approaching learning this way – opposed to a one-time session or offsite event – will improve business metrics, raise employee engagement, decrease turnover, lift morale, and deliver a better return on your skill-building investments.
What’s the most effective thing you do to get your people invested in learning?