Five Proven Methods for Training and Empowering Staff 

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Ensuring that the people in our teams are well trained and empowered with the knowledge and skills to succeed is one of, if not the single, most powerful strategy for success available to both business owners and team leaders alike. This truth holds equally across industries including engineering, financial services, construction and non-profit, although how this strategy is best executed may vary significantly not only between industries, but also between businesses, teams, and even individual staff members 

Industries going through rapid change, such as technology focussed businesses and non-profits grappling with the rapidly evolving NDIS landscape in Australia may be best served by methods such as recorded video content and webinars. Other industries subject to complex regulatory oversight such as accountants and financial planners may find more value in workshops.  

Each situation will be unique and, as leaders, it’s up to us to work through the options available to find the best fit for our people. Read on as we cover off five proven methods of delivering knowledge and skills to your teams.  

 

Engage them with Video 

The statistics and research around the effectiveness and benefits of video in the workplace is indisputable.   

  • Employees are 75 percent more likely to watch a video than to read documents, emails or web articles  Forrester Research 
  • Microsoft used video to cut classroom training costs by $303 per person, from $320 to just $17 - Microsoft 
  • eLearning is proven to increase knowledge retention by 25% to 60% - WR Hambrecht 

A corporate video library is the ideal medium for providing a range of different content to your staff. Some great ideas include: 

  • A video of the Managing Director welcoming new staff to the company, and explaining the organisation’s vision, mission and values.  
  • A video of the Sales Manager congratulating her team on last quarter’s figures, and presenting the new quarter’s strategy and incentives.  
  • A screen recording video demonstrating to customer service representatives how to properly enter customer information into the CRM.  

Creating video content is now easier and cheaper than ever. To create a video of a person speaking (such as the Managing Director example above) all that you need is a smart phone and a cheap desktop tripod to hold it steady. If you want to get fancy, you can purchase an affordable external microphone to attach to the smart phone, but in most situations, this should not be necessary (or a pair of standard ear pods would do).  

To create a screen recording video you can either use the basic built-in recording ability on your computer or, better yet, install an application such as Snagit or Camtasia. From there it’s as simple as clicking record and then demonstrating the task to be recorded.  

Once you have your video recorded, you will need to make it accessible to your team. Microsoft Stream (part of the Office 365 suite) is an excellent platform for this purpose.  

 

Bring them together with Webinars 

Webinars are ideal for sharing information and knowledge with a group of people who are geographically diverse, while also promoting interaction amongst participants (unlike a pre-recorded video). In this context, webinars are essentially no different to a group video conference.  

They are generally lead by one or two presenters who will often screen share content from their own computer, such as a PowerPoint presentation, and encourage questions from the audience. Webinars can also be recorded for later inclusion in the corporate video library.  

Training webinars are extremely easy to conduct, with a range of webinar applications available. Two popular packages to consider are Zoom and Skype for Business (included in Office 365). Each has their advantages, but if your team is already using Office 365 why not try using Skype for Business first, given you likely already have it installed and ready to go.  

 

Get them hands-on with live Workshops 

Sometimes there is no beating face-to-face communication, particularly when the information that is to be conveyed is quite complex or nuanced, interaction is essential, or hands-on activities and exercises are part of the delivery.  

In person events by definition require that all attendees are physically present in the same space, which won’t always be convenient or affordable. They do, however, offer a format of teaching that is hard to replicate through other means, and for some people are by far the most effective way of learning.  

 

Let them learn through Self-Paced Training 

Given that all individuals learn in different ways, self-paced training is an efficient way of building up skills and empowering your team, with the flexiblity of fitting in study around other commitments. There are many online courses available these days, and sites such as Pluralsight and Udemy offer a wide variety of training topics, with options for businesses to manage their staff training with a corporate account. Self-paced training can be extremely effective and convenient, as it's conducted online from the student's own desk, but it also offers scalability, training as many people as is required for minimal incremental cost, and training materials can be reused time and again and can remain available for future access. 

Some students may find it difficult to stay motivated when undertaking and completing self-paced training, so it is most effectively used in environments where team members are offered the opportunity for interaction with peers, supervisors, or subject matter experts, as well as hands-on practice with immediate feedback 

 

Back it all up in Writing 

While videos might be the preferred medium for consuming content at the moment, it's also important to provide staff with documentation and keep a written record of policy and procedures. This ensures there are guidelines in place, so everyone knows what the company expectations and standards are, and can also provide guidance for situations where decision making is required. Documentation can also serve as training and educational materials for future reference within the team. 

Confluence is a good option for maintaining a centralised location for policy and procedure documentation. You could also use Sharepoint (which may already be included in your Office 365 suite) for a company portal and centralised file management in which to keep your forms, templates, and other documentation. 

Videos can be great for visualising a process or having conversations across various geographical locations, but with documentation also in place, there is an easy reference point to return to when required. 

 

We all want team members in our organisation who are well trained and empowered with the knowledge and skills to succeed, which in turn drives success for the business as a whole. In an effort to keep our staff skilled up and connected to the company vision and mission, five of the best ways to do this is to engage staff through video, bring them together on webinars, encourage hands-on learning through workshops, offer self-paced training and back up all those methods through written communication and documentation. 

 

 

Picture of Ben Love

When not looking at ways to use technology to create a competitive advantage for his clients and build better businesses, Ben is a husband, busy father of boys, avid gardener, and keen runner and cyclist.

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