- How To Make Training More Engaging
- 1. Tailor your content to employees.
- 2. Make sure the content flows logically.
- 3. Create visually appealing material.
- 4. Ask your employees to engage in peer learning activities.
- 5. Make it entertaining.
- 6. Incentivize employees to complete training.
- 7. Make training accessible on-demand and provide supporting material.
- 8. Keep it simple.
- 9. Give your employees the time and space they need to complete their training during the workday.
- 10. Ask your employees what they need. Last, but certainly not least: ask your employees how you can support them in their training process! Some might require a dedicated daily time slot to complete their training. Others might require supplemental materials or accessibility tools. Show you care about your learners — they’ll be better prepared to succeed throughout their training. Before we go
No matter the industry, it’s rare to hear employees brag about how excited they are to start their corporate training. Sure, the thought of training might induce a couple of eye rolls from employees, but it doesn’t have to. In fact, it’s in everyone’s best interest if employee training is both exciting and engaging, but unfortunately, the current state of training in the U.S. is quite the opposite. In 2018, companies with fewer than 100 employees gave only 12 minutes of manager training every six months. Organizations with 100-500 employees provided a mere 6 minutes. This isn’t just bad news for employers; it’s also a letdown for individual employees who crave more for their professional development.
Generally speaking, people really do care about their own professional learning and development. 93% of employees believe that well-planned training positively affects their development; another 60% of workers spearheaded their own upskilling endeavors in 2020.
Clearly, employers can do a better job of providing their employees with more robust training resources. Ineffective training leads to disengaged employees, low performance, and higher turnover rates to boot. Your employees want engaging training content that motivates, inspires, and adds true value to their professional lives. Give it to them and they might even brag about your excellent training materials to their friends. Here’s how to do it:
How To Make Training More Engaging
1. Tailor your content to employees.
We’ve discussed the benefits of personalization in length before, but it’s worth repeating: customizing your content makes a real difference in your employee training programs. A one-size-fits-all approach may be effective in certain training scenarios, but it’s not a good idea to crank out canned content if you want employees to really engage. That’s why it’s best practice to create training material that caters to each employee’s specific role. You wouldn’t hand a content marketer the same material you’d provide a client success manager; the two roles require a distinct set of skills.
Personalization also goes beyond creating content bespoke to your employees’ roles. Before equipping your employees with training content, discover their individual learning preferences. Learning preferences, or learning styles, describe how people gather, interpret, organize, and store information for further use. Matching your training content to your employees’ learning preferences can help ensure that they understand, retain, and apply that information successfully. What’s more, it can also entice them to begin their training in the first place.
2. Make sure the content flows logically.
What’s the secret to building a strong, sturdy home? It’s all in the foundation on which it’s built. A solid foundation lays the groundwork for how the rest of the house will come together. Build a weak foundation and, well, you may have a pretty crumbly house on your hands. The same goes for your employee training content. Without a sound, logical structure, the content will quickly unravel and yield frustrated, disengaged employees.
You can avoid this scenario by ensuring your training content is centered around learning objectives. Learning objectives describe what your employees can expect to learn throughout their training. They also give learners an idea of how they’ll be expected to perform once training is complete. Structuring your content around your learning objectives will ensure the training is focused and streamlined.
3. Create visually appealing material.
The human eye is naturally attracted to visuals, but it takes just about eight seconds for it to wander somewhere else if the material isn’t visually appealing. As a result, anything your employees will be looking at — whether that’s a video, an infographic, or an article — should be pleasing to the eye and make structural sense.
Another tip? Create content that’s in line with your company’s brand guidelines. Use your company’s official colors, logos, fonts, and tone of voice. Branded, customized content will be taken more seriously by your employees. What’s more, it will demonstrate how invested your company truly is in training and in your employees’ success.
4. Ask your employees to engage in peer learning activities.
If you read our last blog post, you’ll know all about using the protégé effect to maximize your training’s ROI. The protégé effect describes the idea that learners who explain a concept to others reinforce their own understanding of the subject. How can you deploy this phenomenon effectively in training? By facilitating peer learning activities.
Peer learning helps contribute to highly engaged workforces, generally because employees usually feel more comfortable with peer-to-peer learning than with formal presentations from leadership. Peer learning enables employees to form genuine, trust-based connections with their colleagues while better learning and retaining valuable training information. It’s a win-win for both employees and employers.
Conducting jigsaw groups, for example, is a fantastic peer learning method that enhances information retention and employee engagement. Put employees into separate groups, and give each group different sections of their training material to learn. Then, put one employee from each separate group into another mixed group and ask them to present to their colleagues. This enables the group members to synthesize their knowledge and form genuine connections with their peers.
5. Make it entertaining.
One innovative training method that’s gained popularity in recent years is gamifying. Gamifying involves infusing game-like elements in a non-game context. A good example of this would be adding interactive quizzes at the end of each training module. Gamifying taps into the human brain’s primal urge to accomplish achievements (such as advancing in or winning the game.) It also unlocks a sense of healthy competitiveness among people, which can deepen their engagement levels during training.
If gamification feels too off-brand for your company, conduct an audit of your current training material and identify opportunities for spicing up the language and/or visuals. Can you write in a good joke somewhere, or perhaps a riddle that keeps employees guessing?
6. Incentivize employees to complete training.
Financial incentives are almost guaranteed to get employees to engage with and complete their training. You don’t need to break the bank to achieve this effect, but awarding employees small sums that cover the cost of a coffee or commute can help motivate them.
If you’re unable to offer them cash, don’t worry: free food tends to be a fantastic motivator, too. You can also try giving out small prizes or sending company-wide shoutouts to recognize those who complete their training or perform well.
7. Make training accessible on-demand and provide supporting material.
You can assume that your employees — especially your top performers — will always be looking to further their skillsets at work. Keep them engaged and inspired by giving them on-demand access to supplemental training resources. Not only does this help your employees advance in their careers, but it shows that you genuinely care about their own professional development and success.
8. Keep it simple.
The last thing you want to do to your already-busy employees is to overwhelm them. You can help lighten their training load by breaking your content into small, digestible chunks that don’t overwhelm. Each section should hit roughly around 500 words, or take about 3 minutes to complete. Short bites of content allow for employees to make progress without needing to set aside huge blocks of time to complete training. They’re more likely to procrastinate if they know they have a big task ahead of them, so make it easy for them with shorter lessons!
9. Give your employees the time and space they need to complete their training during the workday.
Nobody wants to take their training home with them if the day slips past them. Instead of expecting your employees to do so, provide them with dedicated hours during the workday to make headway on their training. This demonstrates to employees that you respect their time and their personal lives.
10. Ask your employees what they need.
Last, but certainly not least: ask your employees how you can support them in their training process! Some might require a dedicated daily time slot to complete their training. Others might require supplemental materials or accessibility tools. Show you care about your learners — they’ll be better prepared to succeed throughout their training.
Before we go
Creating bespoke, engaging training material for your employees is no easy feat, but it’s well worth the challenge. Employees who stay engaged throughout their training ultimately become better prepared for their jobs, contributing to stronger company culture and performance in the long run. Your employees are the future of your company. Investing in their professional development ultimately means investing in your bottom line.
Cecilia Seiter is a content marketer, copywriter, and author. She is passionate about the creation of meaningful, fulfilling, and sustainable work cultures.