In 2017, The Creative Engine celebrates its 30th anniversary. For 25 of those years we have been designing in-house and online training for major brands.
We know more than anyone about how to make it a success.
Some of the high street’s biggest names, from Sony to Intel to Dixons Carphone, have relied on us to train their staff and inform their customers. We help them increase sales and they come back time and time again.
Every project is bespoke, but they each have several things in common. Here they are as seven tips – plus one to avoid – for putting together successful training programmes that keep staff engaged.
1. Stagger the release
We encourage clients not to roll out everything on day one, and instead plan for a phased introduction. There’s a very good reason for this: a high percentage of staff will log in right away, and either try a few modules or set it aside for another time.
What happens if they return three weeks later and see no change? They’ll believe that the platform is stale, and they’re unlikely to buy in. You need to be able to show them that your learning investment is a dynamic, ever-changing process.
2. Keep it current
We encourage staff to give feedback on every module they work through. That way we can tweak them if they aren’t engaging your participants. Likewise, if anything changes, such as the data that underpins a quiz question, or a core business process, we can update the content to reflect it.
Keeping your learning programme current doesn’t only mean it more accurately reflects the business environment. It also stops staff losing faith when they spot errors and omissions.
3. Plan, plan, plan
It’s vital to write a plan for your current and future content and stick to it. Having successfully rolled out a training programme for one of the best travel companies in the industry, we’re already working together on a roadmap of content to support its business over the next 12 to 18 months.
By knowing what’s in the pipeline and what’s coming next you can evolve your training programme and signpost forthcoming developments while they’re still works in progress.
4. Have a news page
A news page is important as it shows you care about the content and that there’s a reason to come back again to the training platform.
If that’s not possible, at the very least have a welcome message or a banner advert that changes frequently. Adding a banner is one of the easiest ways to give the impression of ongoing updates, even if it says nothing more than “Welcome to February 2017’s training content”.
5. People engage with people
Wherever possible, include pictures of the team behind the training as part of the learning platform. Learning can be very mechanical and distant, but a picture of the ‘Head of HR’ beside a short welcome note, or that same person appearing in a video talking about the programme’s latest additions, will enthuse staff.
They’ll perceive that there’s a whole team behind the platform looking after their development.
6. Cultivate champions
Champions are your most loyal and enthusiastic staff. Think of them as your agents on the sales floor – not there to spy and report back, but to promote the training platform in discussion with their colleagues.
We’re helping a major retailer transform its business. After years of writing orders on pads, it’s going paper-free, a move that will take a lot of getting used to for its staff. To ease the process, we’re working with select staff, training them first so they can act as ambassadors for the new learning system. This is crucial to the plan’s success.
7. Offer an incentive
There are several ways to do this. Having staff compete for the glory of a top score in an end-of-module quiz works well if their managers embrace it, but if you can also offer a tangible reward you’ll be able to take your staff further.
We are working with an audio equipment manufacturer to develop a system of points, which staff in retail stores will earn for progressing their training. They’ll be able to swap them for discounts off the manufacturer’s hardware and services.
Incentivising training this way keeps staff engaged, even on the modules they have no choice but to sit through. Businesses that need to train staff in health and safety, or other “dry” obligatory subjects can guarantee better buy-in if there is another, appealing reason to pay attention and do well.
DON’T assume everyone likes the same thing
One size doesn’t fit all. Some people thrive in the classroom while others prefer Learning. Listen to your staff, actively follow up at the end of a module, see what works for them and what doesn’t, and evolve your bespoke training programme over time if you want to get the best results.
For help applying these tips to your business, call The Creative Engine on 01483 799 200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. With over 30 years in the business, we’ve helped some of the biggest brands in Britain and beyond get the best out of their staff. We can do the same for you.