How HR Professionals Can Stay Relevant and Keep Their Training Fresh

There’s little worse for an HR professional than seeing your training met with stifled sighs and surreptitious eyerolls.

It’s your job to make sure that the workplace training you present to your team is well-received and interesting. Otherwise, it has little chance of actually being effective.

To make sure the programs you choose will be met with more enthusiasm, you need to do a few things. First, make sure that your material is highly relevant and easily accessible. Then, make sure it’s delivered in a way that’s easy for employees to learn, remember and use.

Here are a few ways you can do just that with today’s technology and tools:

Leverage Microlearning

As we wrote in our full post on the subject, microlearning is a growing trend that makes information easier for people to digest by breaking it down into smaller pieces.

Dedicated to educating their employees, many bigger organizations have leveraged the growth of e-learning tools to create extensive learning management systems, complete with libraries full of videos and whitepapers. These kinds of resources can be especially useful when employees are embarking on an entirely new field or area of expertise, and when they have the time to devote to it.

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However, especially in a culture in which people are constantly given bite-sized information (blog posts, news stories, social media posts, etc.) it makes sense that a similar approach with corporate learning would also be more effective.

Breaking some of your training down into smaller parts and learning points has several benefits.

First of all, it makes the material more approachable and easier to manage for busy employees.

Secondly, making the effort to edit down the course material so that each lesson is as impactful as possible respects all your employees’ time and may reduce overall time spent training. Also, by making it more of a regular daily or weekly routine instead of binging corporate training in intense sessions a few times a year, trainers can incorporate topical events or news into the training and draw those connections more directly.

Finally, the repetition of these short-burst lessons over time just may make employees more likely to remember the material for the long term. Josh Bersin explains in his thorough post on the disruption of digital learning: “Neurological research has proved that we don’t learn well through ‘binge education’ like a course. We learn by being exposed to new skills and ideas over time, with spacing and questioning in between.”

“Spaced learning,” the term used to describe this method, may even be taken into account by new versions of learning software.

Of course, for core understanding of big ideas, in-depth training is still ideal. But microlearning can be perfect for reinforcement or for the simpler issues that can be distilled into concrete lessons.
Workplace training options

Incorporate Engagement Analytics

The better your understanding of the challenges your staff is facing, the better you can tailor your training to meet those needs — and the more relevant and welcome that training will become.

But understanding which specific problems are causing bottlenecks or frustration at any given point isn’t always easy. After all, HR professionals’ attention is often pulled in many directions outside of internal issues (including a big focus on recruiting and on legal news and compliance issues) each day.

Thankfully, there are a growing number of tools that measure employee engagement directly, allowing HR to keep their finger on the pulse of what the collective workforce is thinking, feeling and struggling with — almost in real-time.

As Josh Bersin wrote in Forbes, “Only a few years ago the engagement survey market was a robust but sleepy place. Today it has become a dynamic world of real-time survey systems, sentiment analysis software, organizational network analysis (ONA) tools, and products that actually automatically ask your peers for feedback to give you real-time coaching.”
Workplace training options
This cadre of tools continues to grow and add new features, allowing human resource professionals to collect feedback easily and in more ways than ever before.

This area is likely to get even more interesting in the near future, as well. The increasing amount of data that companies are able to collect from tools like this (and from tools such as office wearables and room occupancy sensors) will soon be even more helpful thanks to advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning.

As this Hppy blog post explains, software is increasingly able to spot patterns and identify insights in large sets of data without being explicitly instructed to look for them. Machine learning “basically allows for machines to not only collect information from corporate environments, but also learn from it.”

The best HR pros will keep their eye on these tools as they develop so they can proactively find the most helpful ways to use them in improving employee behavior and happiness.

Tailor the Learning to Your Audience

If you really want your corporate training to feel as fresh as possible, you need to tailor that training to employees as much as you can. That means not only choosing topics that are relevant to them, but bringing the message to them with the platforms and timing that fits most naturally into their lives.
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All employees have different learning styles, schedules, and comfort levels with various devices and technology. Creating a training system that takes these varying needs into account means one that will feel much more relevant to them. And thankfully, this is getting easier to do with new tools and software designed for the purpose.

As we mentioned, learning management systems and e-learning libraries aren’t exactly new (although plenty of companies are still struggling to fully leverage digital learning tools). The wonderful power of the internet and the vast resources available online have made it much easier for employees to choose how and when they watch training videos or take online courses.

However, HR professionals can take it a step further by integrating that training into tools that employees already use and are familiar with (such as social media, an office chat application, or a mobile app) or incorporating emerging tools such as virtual reality and gamification.

In fact, in the future, systems might be able to tailor learning experiences for employees by taking into account their training and learning history at the company.

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Despite all the software and automation that has flooded the HR market in recent years, the professionals in the HR department still have their work cut out for them. It’s an exciting time in the industry, as leaders can choose from among a growing number of tools to create learning that’s tailored to organizations’ style, needs and demographics.

If you’re an HR professional looking for a trusted partner to help you develop the relevant training that will keep your corporate culture healthy, we’d love to hear from you. At ELI, we know that culture is the foundation of a civil and productive work environment, and our award-winning training changes culture through actionable, simple training methods. We work with businesses of all types and sizes, and we also offer a popular “train the trainer” program through which HR professionals can become certified ELI instructors. Click here to request a quote.We look forward to hearing from you.

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