Workplace Training: A Critical Ingredient for Employee Retention & Engagement

Let’s take a trip down memory lane.  

Spend a moment reflecting on the best job you’ve ever had. I bet you can remember all of the fine details of your first day: that jittery feeling when you turn your car off in the parking lot, who greeted you at the front desk, and that unmistakable and exciting feeling of being introduced to the many faces that eventually became your closest colleagues and friends. Now, try to recall how that company invested in you. What were the non-monetary benefits that were most important? How were you onboarded? Did you feel that you had the clarity necessary to flourish day-in and day-out?

If you’re like me, on your first day you aren’t often thinking long-term about what kind of workplace training programs your company is going to provide for you, but instead about desperately wanting to be the best employee possible. On the path to becoming a rockstar employee, training should be a focal point of not only your first 30-90 days, but the hundreds, maybe even thousands that will follow as well. And as employees and leaders in companies, we shouldn’t just be thinking about how training impacts performance, but also how it contributes to employee happiness, engagement, and overall retention.

Outside of your typical safety training courses or HR-required sb 1343 online training, I’d venture to guess that the job you just imagined above was at a company that had some sort of formal development and training plan interwoven into the corporate culture. And if it was, they’d be considered pretty progressive, as most companies aren’t thinking enough about functional and motivational training topics for employees beyond the obligatory required compliance content most software training companies boast about. Why?

Because it takes a whole lot of ongoing analysis of performance gaps and business unit assessments to determine what each team and individual needs to level up and stay on the same page as the company’s strategy and product offerings evolve. In short, training is an investment that’s often overlooked—or just flat out not prioritized. 

So, how do we create a culture of learning?

Get buy in from leadership that training should be a priority.

Creating and sustaining an ongoing corporate learning culture is not easy to implement without support from the top down.  Training is an investment and all stakeholders need to understand the importance it has on key metrics, like retention and even revenue. At Lessonly, our leadership team has made a very intentional effort to create holistic company values in order to paint a picture of our common goal and emphasize that we build and evolve our culture through relationships. You may be thinking, what do the mission, vision, and values have to do with training? Well, a special sort of magic happens when the leadership mentality is vulnerable, admitting that no one knows the answer to everything, and the expectation is that we’re all constantly learning and seeking the answer to our most important challenges. This mentality, coupled with psychological safety, will create an environment where employees ask for help when they need it, which can spotlight what training is needed going forward. Thus, ongoing training can be better designed to keep employees aligned and feeling empowered.

Give employees clarity about why their role matters.

At Lessonly, we’re constantly fighting for clarity between employees and managers; clarity about what great work looks like, an honest assessment of individual performance, and what opportunities exist to improve each quarter as you drive towards mastery of your craft. We also tie the importance of positive performance to the broader company goals mentioned above. Having a clear picture of what’s most important to the business brings into the foreground the biggest areas of focus to help employees seek out the right workplace training, both inside and outside of your walls. 

Start with your functional team. 

If your company hasn’t jumped on the workplace training bandwagon or bought into the idea that training should be ingrained in your culture, no fear!  At Lessonly, we work with plenty of teams that are taking training into their own hands on a smaller scale with their functional teams. A few of the typical topics for training sessions that we see companies start with when creating programs from the ground-up are centered around process, product, and skills training. Consider working in quarterly sprints where you identify several key topics your team could use some work on, and create training around those.  At the end of each quarter, measure how the training impacts your team’s performance and confidence levels. 

Don’t overthink it.

Developing a full scale training program can seem daunting, but starting small is better than not starting at all. Don’t forget, too, that you can have fun training topics mixed in with more formal ones. The key is to keep employees engaged and give learners a few actionable items to take back into their roles with them immediately following the training sessions or online lessons.  

While you’re at it, don’t overlook developing workplace training topics for managers and supervisors. A culture that invests in and motivates their management team sees quickly how that motivation trickles down to their teams.

Leverage multiple stakeholders for training content creation.

As part of a career path, consider delegating training content creation to your top performers. You’ll get a dual benefit in that the employee will appreciate the additional responsibility to share their knowledge with their peers, and the learners will have a fresh, on-the-ground perspective on the topic from someone that has the same role. Not to mention, peer-to-peer learning tends to drive higher engagement and knowledge retention as well. Several of our customers have also seen a workplace training network form cross-functionally where functional team leaders and training content creators come together to make sure they’re collaborating well in the training creation and launch process. 

Make the Investment. 

Much like pensions and employee-owned stock programs were the “golden handcuffs” of the past, personalized development and workplace training programs are becoming the new currency for employees. Companies simply cannot afford to neglect investing time and resources into ongoing workplace training if they’re interested in retaining their employees. And, don’t we all want to provide (and be) the company that your employee dreamt about at the beginning of this post?

Could Lessonly be your training solution? ? ?

We sure think so. With Lessonly’s powerfully simple training software, teams train, practice, and perform like pros because they’re continuously equipped with the tools they need to do better work. Click here for a quick look at what we do. Not quite sure yet? Here are 5 Things to Know about Lessonly!

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