Posted: 1:00 p.m. Wednesday, June 12, 2013
By Ilya Pozin
Well-trained employees are happy and productive employees. Plus, they will eat, sleep, and breathe your company if you ask them to.
I know. Employee training isn't cheap. But I also know that the positive impacts are worth every penny.
Well-trained employees are happy, engaged, productive--and they will eat, sleep, and breathe your company if you ask them to.
Of course, not all training methods work properly for every position, company, or industry. To gain some insight on some interesting (and successful) training methods I talked to Millard Cull, president of Avidity, a scientific research and product manufacturing company.
Cull's business employs scientists. This means his employees require high-quality--and highly specific--training to be successful within the company and the field. His scientists are often asked to perform tasks outside of their "comfort zone."
Here are some tips I gained from Cull's impressive pressure-free training methods:
1. Train for the specific types of people you hire.
Cull's perspective on training his employees is highly influenced by the fact that scientists often showcase a trait of distrust and contempt for authority. He adapted his company's training methods to sell the importance of the processes used within the company.
Improving your training will involve trial and error. Does training in a group setting have better end results than training independently? Find out, and adapt accordingly.
At Avidity, Cull's employees frequently perform jobs that vary from the routine--some are even highly creative. Depending on the size of your company, you may need your employees to step into multiple roles. Cross-training is the way to make sure your employees are more likely to take initiative in times of need by performing tasks they may not otherwise have been trained for.
3. Train on the company concept, vision, and message.
Don't limit your training methods to specific knowledge a position requires. Train your employees on what your company stands for: company culture, mission, values, goals, and everything in between. Through this knowledge, your employees won't just be acting as worker bees. They will have a deep understanding of their importance to the overall company and be a better representative for the brand.
Cull notes that his career has taught him the power of conveying a clear, strong vision. Employees function better, practically without guidance, if they understand the company vision. He uses brief, daily morning meetings as an important tool for keeping his staff on the same page, identifying problems early, and sharing the vision of the company.
4. Remove the fear of failure.
Cull teaches his staff that failure within their experiments isn't a personal failure. To minimize pressure during onboarding training, Cull gives new hires a "practice round" where they are free to fail after giving their best attempt. His training method also utilizes a structured approach for better understanding--the employees write down and plan out the steps they will take before they begin their attempt.
What kind of training methods have worked at your company?