3 Ways To Optimize Employee Training Without Burnout

3 Ways To Optimize Your Employee Training
Summary: Corporate training is a highly worthwhile pursuit, but employees often don't buy into it because they perceive it as a waste of time. Here's how to overcome that and optimize the business by improving your employees' skills.

Optimize Employee Training Without Burnout: 3 Ways To Consider

The core of a business' focus is to make money. To that end, one of the metrics often used in the business world, particularly with contractor businesses, is billability. In other words, are the employees charging customers for their work, or are they charging the business instead? Ideally, to streamline things and keep profits up, businesses want their employees to do as much work as possible that they can be directly paid for. Spending too much time on internal affairs, such as meetings and training, is therefore often seen as wasteful, and employees know that.

Whether or not an employee is hourly and focused on billability, corporate culture can make it feel like any time not spent on work for customers isn't worthwhile! This is at least part of why training can feel like such a waste of time to employees. Whether the person in question is a brand new or top talent, they become motivated to be as productive and profitable as possible. Being perceived as valuable feels especially important when there are layoffs on the horizon, after all.

The trouble with this mindset is that, in an effort to optimize themselves and their value to the company, employees eventually burn out from stress and exhaustion, becoming less and less productive in the process. Hard work may give them plenty of experience, but practicing a skill to improve it only works well when it is practiced correctly in the first place. Less and less time is wasted in the modern workplace than in decades past, but this also leaves employees less time than ever to stop and reflect on how well they are doing.

Even if business leaders themselves emphasize the importance of training and continuous improvement, their employees may have learned a different mindset on their own in previous positions. It can take a lot of corporate cultural influence to convince employees that training is worthwhile and by no means a waste of time!

High-quality eLearning in the business world can take time and money to put together, but the key reason to invest in it is that one can expect a substantial Return On Investment (ROI) from it. It's a way to optimize profit in its own right, but it does that in a way that builds up, rather than tears down, employees.

The key here is "high-quality" learning; in other words, not the kind of training that employees can leave running in the background without paying any attention to it. It's strikingly common across a variety of workplaces, even in fields like education where leaders are supposed to be experts in how to engage a learning audience. What often happens with this typical low-effort training is that employees resent having to use their precious time to focus on it. It doesn't help them improve their work, and if they are forced to complete it on their own time, it contributes to their work fatigue and inefficiency.

The truth is that corporate training's poor reputation has stuck over time and hurts employee buy-in. When I explain what Instructional Design is to people from different walks of life, they invariably reply that they don't like training and wish they didn't have to deal with it.

So, how does one overcome this poor reputation and get employees on board so that they can better develop their skills?

Optimize Employee Training Without Burnout

1. Invest In Training That Requires Trainee Interaction

Many people learn better with a hands-on training approach because of how engaging it is and how much thought it requires. In the eLearning world, this can be anything from a simulation experience to a branching scenario exercise. Sometimes, Virtual Reality Learning is even an option; one that literally requires one's complete focus the entire time.

2. Get Them Talking

Nobody discusses boring training with their colleagues. In my past experiences as an employee, though, really good training can become a main focal point of discussion with one's colleagues. Whether the topic itself is perceived as useful and something to strategize about or whether the presentation is amazing, everyone benefits when they can talk about it. Social learning is powerful, and your employees can learn a lot from each other, even long after the training is over.

3. Make It Convenient

Employees easily stress out about training because they feel that they don't have time for it and that it interferes with work! If at all possible, see if it can be built into the workday so that it doesn't contribute to employees' stress levels. If that's not an option, there are still ways to make it easy to access so that employees don't feel that their time is being wasted. The field of "mLearning" (eLearning accessible on mobile devices) is quickly growing, and giving employees the option of training on their smartphones or tablets will allow them to complete this important work while they're out and about. They may be using public transportation, waiting on their number at the DMV, or even just waiting for their child's sports practice to be over, but they'll be able to use that time wisely by building their skill set and the company's human capital.