Today is April Fool’s day. People, and even companies, go to great lengths to come up with clever tricks and hoaxes. The fundamental idea is to make the “victim” jump to a conclusion. You can check out some of the best pranks by Google here.
Recently in a Brandon Hall Webinar, there was a slide pertaining to bad decisions made as a result of bad reporting in the training department. I am reproducing the slide for your benefit.
Induction training is the first opportunity for an organization to build a long-term relationship with employees. However, my own experiences in the past leads me to believe that not enough attention, care and thought is paid to induction training.
Here are some strategies to add some life to your induction training program:
1. Create an “experience” and not a hodgepodge of reading material and lectures. An “experience” should focus on a proper structure (order in which content is shared), consistent document templates and branding, personal rapport (when possible), and should never end abruptly. It should allow for projecting the company’s culture and have new employees actually “live the culture.” Here is an interesting blog on this topic.
2. Ensure remote employees have access to structured on-boarding content the day they join the company or even before they come on board. The last thing you want is to have somebody on-board and have them waste their time wondering about their decision to join the company in the first place!
3. Use technology where possible. Technology-based support tools could potentially address situations where the employee has a question but doesn’t know who can provide the answer or, in a worst case scenario, believes in a wrong assumption. Here are some interesting ways to use technology for induction:
- Gamification of the entire induction program could make the whole process interesting and rewarding for employees. Think about leaderboard, opportunity to score points through games, quizzes, and completing certain activities associated with induction training.
- Create collaboration portals that could provide a platform for new hires to ask questions, get proper guidance, and build a personal network of contacts.
- Use tools like augmented reality to provide interactive experiences. Museums are already using this technology to make exhibits come alive. Imagine walking through the corporate office, pointing your mobile phone at a photograph on the wall depicting the company’s first ever manufacturing plant to invoke an audio podcast or a video on the history of the plant and its current status.
- All of us use mobile apps for directions but new hires continue to get lost trying to find the office building! A mobile app to help get directions within your office complex will avoid the unnecessary trek to the wrong building and the anxiety of arriving late. Mobile apps also provide an opportunity for HR and line managers to reinforce key concepts and provide a quick reference for the new employee as they settle into their role.
- Virtual Worlds provide a great platform for an immersive and collaborative induction training program for geographically dispersed employees.
4. Collect data pertaining to usage of online content and performance of participants in the various tasks, assignments or assessments that are a part of the induction program. Systematically gather feedback on the induction program from the trainers and the participants for improving your program.
Here is an Infographic (via Milo.com) on the role Store Associates play in keeping retail customers happy and coming back for more.
Impact of Employees on Retail Business
RIS published their annual Store Systems Study 2013 report recently. I was curious to find out how investments in in-store mobile technologies was shaping up. After reading the report, It is easy to conclude that mobile is here to stay and will become a ubiquitous tool at stores in the near future. Here are some snapshots from the report:
A majority of the retailers now consider providing mobile technologies and tools to Store Associates as the most important priority. This is primarily to bring the Store Associate on a equal footing with Smartphone wielding customers.
iPad continues to be the dominant mobile platform within stores. This is followed by Android and iPhone.
Inventory management, Task management, and CRM are the top three uses cases under consideration for in-store mobile devices and apps. HR comes last!
Learning organizations are very good at defining learning objectives and crafting programs that deliver on these objectives. However, the raison d’être for learning organizations is meeting business objectives through learning. The Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning by Calhoun Wick, Roy Pollock, Andrew Jefferson is a great book to read just to understand how training departments should orient themselves towards meeting business objectives and what they should do to get there.
Here is a brief extract from this book:
Making the shift from defining learning objectives to defining business outcomes is, on the one hand, a subtle change for the learning organization, but it has profound implications. Defining business outcomes differs from the traditional practice of defining learning outcomes in two important dimensions: timing and focus.
The vast majority of course objectives that we see are learning objectives that define capabilities — what participants will know or be able to do at the end of the course of instruction. In contrast, the business – centric outcomes we advocate focus on performance — what participants will do on the job — their behaviors and the results they will generate. That distinction is crucial, because learning only creates value when it is transferred and applied to the work of the individual and the organization. “ High – quality learning and training do not necessarily translate into business results. Enterprise learning must be driven with the end in mind: the business results to be achieved ” (Vanthournout & others, 2006). Defining learning objectives is still an essential part of the instructional design process, but they are subordinate to the business objectives; they are a means to the end, not the ultimate objective.
Being explicit about the business outcomes that a learning program is intended to achieve has many advantages:
- It makes explicit the business value of the time and money that will be invested. As such, it garners greater support from both managers and participants.
- It helps management prioritize training in the same way it weighs other investments.
- It answers the “what’s in it for me?” question for participants and therefore satisfies one of the principles of adult learning: the need to know Why?
- It highlights the need for managerial involvement, since managers control the environment in which transfer and application must occur.
- It provides alignment with the business and a clear criterion against which to evaluate potential approaches: Is this the best way to achieve the result?
- The outcomes are stated in a way that makes how to measure them apparent.