With technology being in the forefront, companies and CEOs are increasingly relying on that same technology for a huge percentage of employee training. Online courses seem to be the norm for required certifications for many jobs, introductory video clips about the history of the company, goal setting, learning what is expected in the work place, and much more. Technology has advantages, allowing employees to do this in the comfort of their homes at any time, with the ability to pause the presentation and pick it back up later. Certainly there are situations where this can work wonderfully, especially in technical aspects of the company.
However, I wonder what price we’re paying to replace quality human interaction with efficiency. It may be costing your company more that you know in a revolving workforce.
I want to challenge every company and CEO to train their employees in face-to-face settings, either with a company trainer or an immediate supervisor, whenever possible. Just as coaches prepare their players for any sport, corporate training should incorporate the following:
1. Game Situations- Every coach puts his or her players in game situations in practice. So can you. Place employees in small groups and give them situations they need to resolve, such as an angry customer, conflicts with another employee, practicing a proper sales technique, etc. Then have each group leader present the group’s resolution. Give the best group a bonus of some kind–free lunch, fun money, etc. We did this when I was a sales manager in front of the owner, who was a tough audience. We undoubtedly improved.
2. Listening- Probably the most overlooked area in training topics is listening in the workplace. Great coaches always listen to their players with respect to what they think is best and how to improve the team. With the same groups, ask each one to come up with the five biggest challenges their job presents each day. Follow up with how they would resolve these. Simply by listening you can gain great insight in your company and how it can improve.
3. Leadership Classes- Every team has one or more leaders willing to step up in tough situations on and off the field. Coaches simply can’t do it all. Offer leadership classes for those interested in expanding their careers, allowing potential leaders to emerge. Challenges are what true leaders thrive on. In this setting, you can take role playing to a higher level and see what solutions they come up with respect to employee relations, discipline problems, how to negotiate a deal with another company, etc. These classes need not be related to your company. By doing more for your employees and looking out for their welfare, you will gain loyalty and expand their careers.
4. Engaging- Coaches engage their players every day. Rapport is necessary for any team to succeed. People work for people. Do your employees know who you are? I believe they need to. If only a matter of walking through your business every day and engaging them with true, sincere conversation, you gain valuable information about those in your work force. You will teach them by your example. Employees want to know what kind of person you are, and base their decisions and performance on it. Dedicated employees have great loyalty for a leader they believe in.
5. Trainer/Coach- Certainly a big key to your company’s success is the Coach or Trainer. In today’s world they have to be many things. Motivator, Supporter, Driver, Enthusiastic, Confident, Solid Decision Maker, Trustworthy, Strong Character, High Integrity and many more. When you think of all the successful sports teams, you understand when you see the Coach. This same type of individual needs to be the one who trains your employees. When I was in sales, we had the best trainer I’ve ever seen, he was so enthusiastic about the company and his job that we were just naturally drawn in to succeed. Invest in someone who has all the attributes of a great salesperson, with a loyalty to your organization and a commitment to make those around him or her better.
Technology is a terrific tool, making your company more visible, more efficient, and providing resources never before thought of. However, it can’t produce enthusiasm, dedication, loyalty, and determination in your employees. Only you can do that.
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