Some of you may be familiar with continuous improvement processes in regards to quality management for products or services, but the same methodology can be applied to training employees as well. Most instructional design frameworks have some form of continual improvement built in to improve your training program itself, but they do not address the continual improvement needs of the trainees. That is where you can specifically design a continuous improvement training program for your employees.
Every business has basic processes that need to be taught, but often times there are additional steps or functions that are only learned from constant use or practice. You can identify these additional steps and add them to your training. Give employees more opportunity to incrementally improve beyond the natural pace of their jobs. Pretty soon all your employees will have expert level understanding of your processes, and your training program will be responsible for that!
Continuous Improvement Training Benefits
While the benefits are pretty clear, they are worth reiterating. Decreasing the amount of time it takes an employee to reach expert level also decreases the amount of time the company is paying them for less work than they are capable of. The employee also benefits by not having to waste their own time figuring out learnable processes.
Another benefit is that once your employees are experts at their main job task, you can start developing them in other areas. While they are probably naturally developing in multiple areas at once, you can accelerate this process. Your business now has an invaluable workforce capable of anything you throw at them. And your employees will be happier than ever knowing that they are getting ahead of their peers that are working at other companies. Everyone wins!
And additional benefits abound. Now your training program itself has become a selling point at your company to attract the most qualified candidates. By establishing an environment of continuous learning, you can shape the culture of your company (and get a raise because now your company is much more productive).
Implementing Training Strategies
Normal training processes also provide these same benefits, but taking the extra time to really compartmentalize processes for delivery to trainees multiplies the results. Don’t confuse this with micro-learning. While your continuous improvement training may have micro-learning elements, the important part is that each lesson builds upon the last in a measurable way.
You can think of this as constructing a skyscraper. You have to start with a very strong and well built foundation. Most training programs only think of building a few stories tall because that is all that is required for employees to get the job done. With continuous improvement training, you can make sure that employees not only know how to get the job done, they can excel at their job.
The goal of continuous improvement is to create the best possible outcome through constant additions. You can start with your basic training as the base, but then you need to improve upon it and add more. Talk to the experts at your company, get them to share their productivity or process secrets. Everything is teachable.
Goal Setting: Aim Broader, Not Higher
In general, training programs are well designed and reach their set goals. It may take some external motivation of employees or other tricks, but overall they get the job done. But what happens when you provide an opportunity for real growth? Employees (or at least those who are career focused) will jump at that opportunity.
Provide training that encompasses topics outside of their specialty. Does your company have software developers? Teach them sales skills. Customer support representatives? Provide opportunities to learn leadership skills. Sales team? Deliver a financial planning course. The list goes on. Anything that provides value to the individual will provide value to your company.
Continuous improvement training allows everyone involved to thrive. Your training program can be expected to drive more results and employees enrolled in the program can expect to learn and grow more. Expect more from your employees and you might be pleasantly surprised.
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