Let’s talk training. You need to continually train your staff so that they stay on top of their game, stay educated about the latest developments in your industry, and have a fighting chance of keeping the company alive for the future. But the same old training schemes just aren’t working anymore. Employee attendance has fallen and, when you do manage to provide good training, you’re afraid they will just take the free knowledge and go work for your competitor. What do you do?
Brown Bag Lunch Sessions
Brown bag lunch sessions sound like a strange idea, but they’re a very effective form of employee development. You can set up sessions on work-life topics, or more intensive programs on employee development and management-in-training. Use brown bag lunches, or try buying your employees’ lunches, for the meeting.
The employees will appreciate the free meal and the training – provided you do a good job with it. A “good job” is one where you enhance employee knowledge of the industry, help develop employee skills and provide continuing education about your industry and the company’s internal processes and protocols.
Mentoring is a great way for managers and employees to connect. When you start a mentoring program in your company, you remove the often veiled secrecy of upper-level management. Executives rarely spend time with rank-and-file employees. No wonder there’s still that “us vs. them” mentality. When you connect your rank-and-file staff with senior staff, you bridge a gap that needs bridging. You also allow managers to pass on vital knowledge about the company.
Employees get to see what it’s like to be a manager. Managers can groom employees to take over when they retire, and the culture in your company can be solidified. How? Because executives tend to have a better grasp of the culture within your company than lower-level employees. They also have more motivation to pass it on to lower level staff than an outside training company.
If you choose to go the mentoring route, make sure that you and your managers have the skills that are necessary to teach your employees properly. One of the most important skills that a manager can have is conflict resolution, since it is used to not only eliminate problems between employees, but also between workers and management. Unresolved conflicts can create a toxic environment, so conflict management is vital when creating a strong workplace culture. Having managers with degrees like the Master of Science Degree in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution could go a long way towards creating a harmonious culture within your organization.
When you can’t do a mentoring program, opt for some type of in-house training. It’s less expensive than hiring out, and your employees can still get a great training experience. You can’t put together a training program yourself? No worries, you can actually outsource the development and delivery of your training with companies like K Alliance. At the same time, it’s not going to cost you as much as a fully outsourced training program (i.e. live training).
Want your employees to start acting more like managers? Want to train employees on a new process? Why not set up a book club? Have all employees read the same book. The training meetings will consist of a discussion of the book or books in question. Ask an employee to lead the discussion each week about the week’s assigned chapters. Then, have another employee lead a discussion about the book’s relevance to your company’s operations. See where this is going?
This is a low-pressure way to get employees to expand their current skillset in a relaxed environment. It’s also very cost-effective, especially if you have the employees buy the books or you get them from a local library.
Anthony Buckley enjoys improving employee productivity. He likes writing about his effective methods on business blogs.