When people need help getting in shape, they attend an exercise class or hire a trainer. When businesses need to get in shape, they often turn to employee training. Here, success isn’t measured in weights lifted but in new skills developed and knowledge gained.
There are many ways for a human resources department to structure an organizational training and development plan. They all have their own advantages, so the best option depends on the goal of the training! Let’s explore different eight ways you can use to upskill your staff and create a happier, healthier workplace.
What is Organizational Training and Development?
Organizational training and development (OTD) is the practice of equipping individuals with the skills, knowledge, and abilities they need to effectively perform their jobs. It typically involves a combination of formal instruction, on-the-job training, mentoring, and coaching. OTD helps businesses ensure their employees can achieve the organization’s goals and objectives.
An organizational training program offers numerous benefits to businesses and their employees. It can:
- Increase productivity and efficiency.
- Attract top talent.
- Increase employee salary potential.
- Improve employee engagement and morale.
- Cultivate a diverse workforce with unique perspectives and experiences.
- Reduce turnover rate due to improved job satisfaction.
- Enhance organizational agility.
Organizational Training Best Practices
Before jumping into a new training program, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the standard protocols that guide effective implementation.
Set a Clear Goal for the Training
A meeting with a goal is a more effective meeting than an ill-defined touchbase. The same applies for a training session. Having a clear goal can keep everyone on track and on the same page. Your team members will know what to expect from this training. Goals are even more effective when they align with the company’s goals.
Identify Knowledge Gaps
Before you can really dive into organizational training, you may want to know where you’re already at. What does your team know already and where are there potential gaps? It’s helpful to know where you’re at before starting. Here are a couple of ways to get you started:
- Send out surveys. Surveys are a great way to get information, and you can use them to identify knowledge gaps. See how many people know about certain things already and then focus your training on the gaps.
- Have an open response forum. Let employees send in ideas for what they’d like to learn more about.
- Go back to reviews. If you’re holding regular reviews, you might be able to determine where certain knowledge gaps are. Do employees understand your company’s purpose? Are they clear on the values? That could be a great place to start.
Include Hybrid and Remote Employees
Most companies have employees in various locations now, making the rollout of an OD program more complicated. A few ways you can optimize your sessions for cross-platform employees include:
- Having virtual training sessions where the remote employees are able to contribute.
- Presenting any slides with a screen sharing tool, so everyone can see the same thing at once.
- Encourage hybrid and remote employees to participate by talking with them in advance.
Keep it Engaging
Training needs to be engaging to be truly effective. Does that mean your training needs to be just games and fun? Not quite — engagement is a lot more than that. Engagement can look like:
- Breakout rooms. When you’re in a big virtual training session, it’s hard to get people talking. So breakout rooms are a great way to counter that. You can break people off into smaller groups and let them chat with each other. This is a great way to involve remote and hybrid employees and get them talking with their teammates.
- Interactive videos. Interactive is usually a good choice when it comes to creating engaging training. Videos can also be shown with screen sharing to involve everyone on your team.
- Discussions. Ask questions, call on people, and start the conversation! Discussions are a powerful way to keep people engaged. They’re a way for everyone to hear from each other and to hear new perspectives.
- Pair and share. Ask your team some questions, and then have them pair up with a partner to discuss what they think. You might then have a few partnerships share their ideas with the large group. This can still be done in virtual training too.
- Fishbowl discussions. Looking for a unique way to get discussion started? This might be what you’re looking for! With a fishbowl, you select a few employees to be in the “fishbowl” where they have a mini discussion that everyone else listens to. When someone has a thought, they can jump into the fishbowl to contribute.
- Games. Don’t be afraid to have a little fun too! Jeopardy, Kahoot, and even Bingo can be great ways to get everyone involved.
Ideas for Improving Your Organizational Training
Engaging with new forms of employee development can help a company stay one step ahead of today’s ever-changing business environment. This experimentation comes in many forms, such as using new technology to offer flexible learning opportunities. Here are a few ideas that can help you enhance your staff training.
Use Trending Interactive Technology
New technology is expanding the potential for interactive education, and it can strengthen your organizational development. Virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) experiences, for example, can give team members an immersive environment in which to explore complex concepts. VR provides an interactive way to sharpen focus on the lessons, learn faster, and increase confidence in applying learned skills.
High-quality video content can be an effective knowledge transfer tool. Whether you hire professional actors, use animation, or get your staff involved in creating the content, interactive video content can help employees better understand the material and make them more likely to remember it. This is especially crucial when it comes to safety training.
Another way to upgrade your video or VR/AR training is to incorporate quizzes throughout the experience. Research shows that employees prefer this type of interactive training and retain more information.
Hone Leadership Skills
Leadership skills like communication, problem-solving, emotional intelligence, and conflict resolution are invaluable attributes for any organization’s management team. Investing in such soft skill development helps both employers and their workforce — learning leadership skills can boost employee retention and engagement while fostering a company’s future leaders.
Incorporate Blended Learning Approaches
Implementing blended (or hybrid) learning opportunities is an effective way to ensure professional development is accessible to all. This type of learning combines online courses and in-person instruction with interactive elements that allow employees to get the most out of the content. It provides employees with more flexibility than traditional in-person training, allowing them to access content on-demand and on their own schedule.
Try Role-Playing or Improv Games
Role-playing and improv can help employees stay focused and engaged in a development session. Both activities allow people to practice collaboration, communication, problem-solving skills and thinking quickly in a non-threatening setting. Improv games encourage critical skills like creativity and idea exploration and can help them learn faster and improve their
By improving listening skills, these activities also foster a supportive working environment in a fun and lighthearted manner.
Gamification leverages game design elements, such as points, leaderboards, and badges to make material more engaging. It can be a powerful tool for OTD programs, as it helps make knowledge and skill development more fun.
The competition itself can help motivate and drive employee performance. Consider using raffles, prizes, and other rewards to motivate employees in their learning journey. Decorating people for their achievements gives them a sense of accomplishment that contributes to engagement and incentivizes continued high-level performance.
Establish Mentorship Opportunities
Mentorship programs provide invaluable growth to both new employees and tenured staffers. They give seasoned workers the chance to hone their leadership and training skills while recent hires can learn more about the organization and skills that will advance their careers. This is especially important for those who want to level up or get promoted to another position within your organization.
Establishing mentorship opportunities is a great way for employees to bond, even if the content isn’t strictly work-related. A regularly occurring skillshare event where employees can share their unique skills and ideas — from how to cook their favorite meal to hiking tips — can build relationships that naturally facilitate knowledge sharing later.
Learn from Each Other
Learning isn’t always a top-down process. There’s plenty of knowledge employees can gain from their co-workers. This can be institutionalized with initiatives like peer-to-peer programs and job shadowing.
Peer mentoring is especially effective for fostering workplace diversity and inclusion at work. Research shows it can build confidence in minority staff, strengthen trust in the company, and fosters stronger colleague relationships.
Let Data Guide You
Data gathered by an HR department on metrics like employee competency, progress, and satisfaction can help you identify areas where training is needed.
Let’s say your organization has a customer service team. You can use analytics to compare specific metrics before and after running a customer-centric development program. Did customer satisfaction levels improve? Did employee response times improve after the program? Did the number of complaints received by customers go down?
If the expected results don’t materialize, that’s additional data you can use to inform future corporate training programs.
Training for Life Skills
An effective training program can make life easier for your employees. It equips them with the skills they need to succeed at their job. And feeling capable in your place of work truly matters — a sense of competence is foundational to personal wellbeing.
Organizational development training can specifically target work-life wellness. Fostering a wellbeing benefits employers through an improved company culture, increased retention and lower operating costs. HR departments can facilitate this with programs like mental health coaching, or providing time off as a reward for completing a training course.
If you want to learn more about providing systemic support to your employees during their work-life wellness journey, speak to a Gympass wellbeing specialist today!
The Gympass Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.