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In One Ear and Out the Other?
4 Tactics to Make Training Stick

Most employers recognize the value that employee training programs can bring to their business and actively encourage their use to support operational development. While some companies find it useful to have formalized annual training events for their employees, others recognize that more regular sessions are required throughout the year to ensure staff members are kept up to speed with the requirements of their job.

However, regardless of how frequent or infrequent staff training sessions may be in your organization, the critical question to ask yourself is:

"What are my employees really learning from their training?"

Training your team takes substantial time and effort to conduct, and it also takes employees away from their jobs. But once it's done, do employees retain what they've learned a day, a week or a year later - or does the information just go in one ear and out the other?

Here are four tactics to maximize your training investment - by making sure learning sticks.

Personalize Your Training Approach

As companies begin to grow, it can be challenging to keep up with the development needs of each staff member. However, by encouraging department managers to regularly meet with their staff and identify areas of needed improvement, it is much easier to personalize your training approach to maximize its value for all employees. By better understanding what aspects of your employees' jobs are clearly defined and which ones are not, you'll be able to create a dynamic training format that can adapt over time and pay dividends down the road.

Develop Active Learning Sessions

For many employees, training sessions are recognized as dull, time wasters, and aren't looked forward to in the least bit. Change things up for your organization by making these training events something your employees look forward to.

By developing active learning sessions that require participation and interaction with your staff members, you can help employees retain more information while they enjoy themselves along the way. You can do this by designing fun games and quizzes that require everyone's involvement rather than relying on a one-way training format. Active training sessions are a great way to engage with your employees in a fun, productive way and can significantly improve the morale of an organization.

Provide Post-Training On-The-Job Assignments

Regardless of how you've decided to format your employee training sessions, the only real way to know if the information you shared is being retained is by reviewing your employees on the job.

Too many times, companies invest the time and effort required to deliver well-formatted training sessions but don't follow up with their employees to see if the information was clearly received. Assigning specific tasks to employees that are designed to test their knowledge of details covered in their training sessions is a great way to ensure that your training tactics are being effective.

For specific jobs, it's critical that employees are able to work at maximum efficiency and with little supervision. By staging a working session that is designed to monitor and tweak performance issues before they're applied to regular operational procedures, you'll be able to make sure employees fully grasp all areas of their training and are deploying them in their day-to-day functions.

Regularly Schedule Follow-Up Training

Repetition is the number one way that we as individuals are able to recall what we've learned over the years, and this is an essential step to any successful staff training initiative. It doesn't matter how innovative your training sessions are if they don't incorporate regular follow-up training schedules to solidify what your employees have learned.

Depending on the format and length of your training sessions, follow-up training should be held no later than 6-12 months after initial training has commenced. While follow-up training typically doesn't need to be as lengthy or in-depth as your original sessions, it should outline relevant points that should be recalled and actively promote the importance for employees to utilize what they've learned. Taking the time to schedule follow-up training shows employees that you value their need to develop professionally and are invested in their success with the company.

As essential as training is, however, it may be difficult for some companies to budget the time necessary to keep their staff adequately trained. Staffing firms provide practical solutions to help businesses manage the bandwidth required to keep their employees trained.

Whether recruiting dedicated and qualified training staff or merely hiring temporary support staff to cover absences during training sessions, businesses can benefit significantly from the additional resources that staffing agencies provide, while focusing their attention on making their training tactics more beneficial and effective.