3 minute read

We’re spending more on training than ever before.

That’s the verdict from the 2017 Training Industry Report, which found the U.S. total spending on training jumped a whopping 32.5 percent from 2016 to 2017, to $90.6 billion. Large companies—those with 10,000 or more employees—spent an average of $1 million in training outsourcing. We’re training more often, too; the average employee received 47.6 hours of training in 2017, almost four hours more than the previous year.

And here’s the thing: Most employees dread it. The begrudging way employees regard mandatory training is practically a cliché.  From our experience, they usually put off individual training until the last minute, or sit and daydream during boring, day-long training sessions.

Can we cut this exorbitant cost or provide a more engaging training experience that does a better job of relaying critical information and changing employee behavior?

Yes. We can.

The solution is to deliver the content in engaging and fun ways that reinforce the key things employees need to know. And maybe, if your internal communications are designed to be impactful and helpful, you won’t even need to host a “training” at all.

Pull quote for employee training
Use video

Most of us are visual learners—65 percent of us in fact, according to the Social Science Research Network. This is why videos make effective training tools. Not only can a video turn complex ideas into something easily understandable, employees can rewatch them as necessary. And if you need to replicate a situation that would be difficult or costly to do in real life, consider virtual reality.

Add a human element

You can show pie charts and bar graphs about worker safety incident rates—or, you can play a video of workers discussing their real-life incident stories. Which do you think is more impactful?

Your informational materials and tools should contain a decidedly human touch, whether that’s through video, written storytelling or an in-person session. Real stories give employees something and someone to relate to and help reinforce why they should care about the matter at hand.

Keep it short and interactive

Our attention spans may or may not be getting shorter, depending on which study you read (here’s a fair report on the matter from the BBC). When designing a training session, cap it at two hours max. Shorter, interactive training sessions keep people engaged and focused. Written content shouldn’t be pages or a report. Instead, use imagery, numbers and quotes to capture employees’ attention.

Consider using microlearning—quick and focused learning initiatives delivered in three to five-minute, easy-to-digest segments—that could easily be integrated into an existing meeting. This infographic from Grovo explains why this “bite-sized” learning trend is so popular in modern trainings.

Add incentives and rewards

Instead of hosting a lecture-style training session, make use of e-learning and gamification technologies. According to Business.com, gamification works because it appeals to our sense of competition and desire to be rewarded. Consider incentives, to spur engagement or drive speedier completion.

Finally, laugh a little

Humor is good for learning. Just look at this recent study published in the Journal of Statistics Education Humor that found the use of humor in a college statistics course enhanced student learning and engagement. Humor acts on the brain’s dopamine reward system, improving motivation and retention. Find ways to inject humor in your trainings, like we did for an information security client:

In many industries, formal compliance training will remain a required element. But every industry can supplement such training with engaging communications that reinforce the key things employees need to know.

Want to introduce engaging employee communications to your training strategy? Email us or call 317-631-6400.