Many contact center managers (and other business leaders as well) allow training to fall to the bottom of the priority list because they consider it expensive, time-consuming and unnecessary. So sometimes it falls by the wayside with the hope that, with some quick on-the-job training, employees will somehow “make it work.” We might even point to employee turnover as the reason for our neglect, wondering why we should make the effort to formally train employees who have such perpetually short tenures.
Formal, high-quality training programs are, in fact, worth every penny—and every minute—spent on them. Throughout the years, studies have consistently shown a link between training and people’s attitudes about their job proficiency. Employees who felt they received effective, meaningful coaching also felt they improved their job performance. Training has also been shown to have a significant impact on mental attitudes related to the job, including increased motivation and commitment, more trust in the organization, and a willingness to go above and beyond to meet job requirements.
Training is typically thought of as something that’s done only once, for new hires. It is a great way to introduce new employees to the company, its culture and its products, and gets the relationship started on the right foot. Here at InfoCision, while we agree on the importance of making every new Communicator feel welcomed—and that training is the perfect opportunity to do so—we disagree that a good training program can be consist of a “one and done” event.
As a matter of fact, the more training you offer employees throughout their tenure, the better off you’ll be. With ongoing training, you’ll have employees who excel at meeting expectations, and your employees will have a greater sense of fulfillment at work.
Here are some suggestions for making your training program the best it can be:
- Focus your training program on core skills. Too many companies offer training that isn’t 100 percent relevant to the job, devaluing the program. The training you provide should be essential to the job your Communicators are actually performing when they leave the room—not preparation for something else down the line. Identify three to five skills that are absolutely necessary for excellent job performance, and focus the training around those. Here, we work one-on-one with new hires to ensure they have all the knowledge and tools they’ll need when they begin their work. We also frequently review our training procedures to ensure they are up to date and efficient.
- Make the training interesting. Training should be energizing, not boring. Memorable training is highly practical and usually offered in short bites. Our training, for example, incorporates a variety of methods to engage trainees, including discussions, Q&A sessions, videos and shadowing. Weave small doses of learning with bursts of implementation, giving employees lots of chances to use what they’ve just learned.
- Make training essential to your ongoing mission. Beyond identifying the core skills for new hires as individuals, what are the characteristics your company needs to develop to be the best in the industry? We know our industry changes seemingly by the day, so what new knowledge can you impart that will keep everyone on the same page, focused on the same mission? How can you, as a group, continue learning to exceed expectations? By embedding training into your business operations it becomes a way of life, giving employees something to work toward together.
If you need proof to convince others of the merits of a formal, ongoing training program, consider calculating the program’s return on investment (ROI). There’s a terrific resource at Management-Issues.com that discusses this subject in greater detail. Having a dollar figure that reflects the value of your training not only justifies its existence, but also opens the door to improving it in the future.