COVID-19 has created a workplace environment with less supervision than ever before. People work from home. Barking dogs and crying babies are now frequent features of workplace Zoom meetings. In a world where employees have such high levels of autonomy—and have indeed done quite well with it, scheduling more frequent training sounds almost counterintuitive.
And yet, there are good reasons why HR and corporate trainers can benefit from increasing the frequency of employee training. In this article, we explore those benefits and look at how trainers can best hope to realize them.
One of the biggest reasons to schedule regular meetings is a simple fact that workplace technology changes considerably and often. Remote collaboration tools have of course been the most obvious form of workplace technological shifts. However, they are far from the only way.
For decades, businesses all over the world have been pivoting into “technological revolutions” in which they embrace modern software solutions to expedite processes and improve efficiency.
From billing to marketing and sales, most departments have their own suite of software solutions that are designed to make things easier for the modern employee.
Except sometimes, they don’t make things easier.
Tech, for all of its benefits, comes with a pretty steep learning curve. This means that all of that expensive software often goes unused by the poorly initiated. For older, or simply less tech-savvy employees, it has also led to workplace frustration and in some cases, high turnover. That’s not good for staff, and it’s certainly not good for the business.
Regular training meetings can help businesses ensure that their staff is fully aware of how to use the tech solutions that are available to them. Not only will this reduce waste on tech spending, but it also has the potential to significantly improve productivity. It’s a win-win.
It’s also worth noting that regular tech-related training instils a sense of importance on the technology. Employees who have been thoroughly trained are likely to better understand that they are expected and encouraged to use the tech solutions that have been provided for them.
It seems unintuitive that more meetings relate to less oversight. And yet this is often the case—particularly in the modern work environment.
For businesses where employees do not work in one office, training is often the only time when the entire team is assembled in one “place.” It can therefore be difficult to otherwise communicate expectations and provide feedback en masse, resulting in a higher need for supervision.
Even for businesses that do still operate face to face, it’s often hard to communicate effectively without team meetings.
Well-conceived training gives employers the ability to provide employee feedback, describe expectations, and move teams in the direction they need to go without the need for constant oversight daily.
Instead of hovering over employees’ desks, management can assume that expectations are understood thanks to the regular communication provided by the training.
Regular training also allows staff to get to know one another better. For remote workers, the need for this is quite obvious. Team members may never meet in person at all, and while they might have the occasional Zoom meeting, they likely aren’t having face-to-face interactions very often either.
While email and other forms of written communication may be effective enough to allow for the completion of tasks, it does little to build a sense of comradery amongst your staff.
Regular training—particularly training that emphasizes team building—can help with that. For example, by adding ice breaker games to the start of meetings, you can help people get to know one another in a way that may improve collaboration in the long run.
Is it cheesy? Yes. It’s also quick, and effective.
A More Productive Staff
Naturally, training also just helps employees be better at their jobs. While it may seem counterproductive to disrupt the working day with training that keeps staff from their tasks, the overall efficiency benefits can counteract that cost when the training is focused and well-orchestrated.
Tech-related training, as mentioned earlier, is a very good example of educational meetings that pay for themselves in terms of productivity. However, any training that has been purposefully executed to improve processes, educate staff, and improve business operations, can have the same benefits.
Regular training can also have a big benefit on employee morale. Of course, the extent to which this is the case will ultimately depend on how the training is carried out. No one likes pointless meetings.
However, meetings that result in office (in-person or otherwise) friendships, improved productivity, and easier task completion is likely to be universally appreciated. Most people want to do their jobs well and enjoy the people that they work with. Businesses that give their staff the tools to do this will find that they boost morale in the process.
Most people don’t like to work jobs that they feel aren’t going anywhere. Regular training has the potential to equip employees with the skills they need to eventually assume higher responsibilities at work.
In crafting training strategies, HR and training professionals can make a point of emphasizing qualities that are important within the company’s managerial and executive levels. Not only does this allow businesses to hire from within—which is usually easier and less expensive than hunting for high-level employees—but it also instills staff with a sense of hope.
Employees are likely to take more satisfaction in their work if they feel it may eventually result in a promotion.
There are many reasons people quit their job. While salary is one of them, it’s often not nearly as important as how people feel at work. Often, staff turnover is the result of low upward mobility, low morale, a lack of employer recognition, or an overall sense of job dissatisfaction.
When training is well planned, they have the potential to address all of these issues. In many cases, training may be the only occasion staff is given feedback on their work. Positive recognition—especially when it comes from management—is a powerful means of boosting morale and reducing turnover.
Stir in increased efficiency, boosted workplace bonds, and improved employee performance, and many people will find that regular meetings reduce their desire to seek new employment.
Improved Public Image
Public image is increasingly important—especially in a job market that has more open positions than it does people who are willing to fill them. People looking for jobs naturally factor salary and benefits into their search, but company culture is often a close second.
Businesses with a reputation for happy, well-attended employees are naturally more appealing. With effective, well-planned training, businesses not only boost their public perception but also make themselves more appealing to people who are looking for a job.
Quality Over Quantity
“Regular” is a flexible term. Training doesn’t need to be daily or even weekly to have its intended effect. Indeed, pointless training may likely produce negative results. Every business has its own rhythm.
However, by finding a schedule suitable to the staff’s needs, businesses can improve productivity, boost morale and enhance overall operations.