It’s eight o’clock on a Monday. You’ve only just barely managed to pull yourself away from your coffee long enough to set your bag down and hang up your coat. You flop down onto your desk chair, which moves slightly underneath you, but of course the carpet slows most of it down. Suddenly, your computer lets out a ping.
You check your inbox and find a hot-off-the-presses email with the subject line, “All-Staff Software Training.” A collective groan rises from the people around you as if you’re all off to grade school after summer vacation.
Even without opening it, you know it’s going to mean sitting in a freezing classroom with the lights half off and the blinds pulled down low. A PowerPoint crammed with tiny words will be projected onto a screen while an instructor drones on for at least 45 minutes, or even worse, maybe it’ll be like that one training you had to sit through for 8 hours. After the ordeal is over, you don’t feel like you’ve learned anything, or even remember half of what you just read or heard.
Show of hands…. Was that scenario relatable?
Don’t worry, I won’t tell. Let’s break it down.
PROBLEM 1: IT’S AT A TERRIBLE TIME
Firstly, its 8:30 in the morning. Secondly, it’s a Monday! All you’re doing is fueling your workforce’s mutual distaste for Mondays and pushing them toward more novelty mugs and t-shirts.
SOLUTION 1: PICK A BETTER TIME!
The best time to schedule you training is later in the week and later in the day. And for the love of all the cat-motivation posters in the world, stay away from just after lunch and Friday afternoons! Why? People tend to get sleepy after lunch, and as for Friday afternoons, your employees will likely spend more time day-dreaming of that weekend trip to wine country than what you’re trying to teach them.
PROBLEM 2: IT’S A SNOOZEFEST!
Listening to some random SME drone on in a dimly lit room is bad enough; throw in a PowerPoint presentation packed with teeny tiny words and you’ve got yourself a cure for insomnia.
SOLUTION 2: LIVEN IT UP!
Leave the lights on and the shades up for your next presentation (at least part of it). It’s time to move away from jam-packed PowerPoints and lectures and into the world of interactive workshops. There are tons of ways you can get your employees more involved, like adding hands-on activities or even splitting the room into teams for a game of Co-Worker Feud in exchange for a bag of M&Ms. That may sound a bit juvenile, bit there are two things adults like more than Fridays – free stuff and earning training game bragging rights.
PROBLEM 3: THEY DON’T GET THE POINT
As much as we wish they were, employees are not mind readers. They might not know why it is vital that they pay close attention during that 45 minutes (or more) that you have them as a captive audience. They have other things looming at the front of their minds, like projects coming up, or what they’re going to try on their weekend getaway.
SOLUTION 3: TELL THEM WHY IT MATTERS!
Begin with an ice breaker if you must; however, always follow with something about why whatever you’re trying to teach them is important. Business is all about the bottom line, so your training should be, too. Adding a quick sentence about how the next 45 minutes of their lives is going to make their work life easier from then on is a small price to pay for the increased trainability that explanation could extract from your listeners.
TO SUM IT ALL UP:
- Make sure to schedule your training at reasonable times
- Make your training fun to attend
- Make sure your employees know what they’ll get out of it.
More tips to come in future posts. Can’t wait? Give MATC a call and we’ll be happy to help you make training less painful and more effective for all your valued employees and clients.