4 Best Practices For Tech Employee Training
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The Best Tech Employee Training Tips

Technology is becoming less expensive and more sophisticated, which means that competition in the software industry is becoming tough. In fact, the global industry is already worth $5 trillion, and it’s expected to grow another 4% in 2019 [1].

To top it all off, you’re up against the craziest pace of change our world has ever seen. No technology is popular for more than a year or two before a better version, or pioneering alternative takes its place. The Next Big Thing is dead! Long live the Next Big Thing!

But you already know all this. Which is why you’re here: it’s time to give your team and company a competitive edge. So, what are the tech employee training practices that will land you a place among the giants you admire, like Google and Apple?

1. Make Learning A Cultural Norm

Here’s the thing about learning: it’s a process, not an event. And, unless your team keeps learning at th e same pace technology evolves, your company is bound to fall behind. Which is why continuous personal development should be a core value entrenched in your team’s culture.

The best way to create a learning culture is through fostering a growth mindset, as Microsoft does. Microsoft tripled its value by fully embracing the concept of ‘growth mindset’ [2], which is the way the brain processes and engages with difficulty. Employees with a growth mindset learn from errors, while those without, run.

To transform your staff from know-it-all to learn-it-all, you’ll need to strengthen their minds against change and error. To start, offer ongoing training and development programs for your tech employees to learn soft skills like problem-solving, agility and emotional intelligence.

Then, rethink your onboarding approach when hiring tech employees. Don’t only focus on onboarding training on your code base and technical systems. Include courses that cover your learning values and processes for change, too. This will ensure that when your technology changes, your staff is ready to adapt.

Finally, remember that a learning culture needs to be inspired from the top. In other words, your leaders need to live by the rules of continuous growth. At Microsoft, it was the new CEO, Satya Nadella, who made lifelong learning a priority and stressed the importance of training and development in the workplace for tech employees.

2. Give Employees The Power To Teach

“Your own employees are perhaps the most qualified instructors available to you”. Or so says multi-billion-dollar tech company, Google. Google, who has a larger training budget than most companies can dream of, chooses peer-to-peer employee development strategies for their tech employees.

Why? Because they work. Studies (like this one) found that pairing high and low performers can lead to significant improvement. So, if you don’t already have one, it’s time to start implementing a coaching program. For example, Facebook’s FLiP (Facebook Leadership in Practice) program uses peer-to-peer learning and feedback to help their leaders develop and grow.

Assign each of your underperforming employees a coach or mentor to give them tips and feedback on improved performance. By strengthening your weakest links through peer-to-peer tech employee training, your whole company will be taking the tech world by storm in no time.

3. Give Employees The Tools To Learn Through Innovation

If there’s one thing your tech employee training should strive to do, it’s to create innovative teams! After all, if your software isn’t ahead of the game, it’s probably not even in the game. In other words, you need to stay on trend.

Fortunately, there are many staff training ideas to give tech employees the skills they need to innovate. The secret lies in creating learning experiences where employees feel safe enough to experiment, take risks and make mistakes.

For example, the popular messaging app Slack offers staff an interactive training course that uses gamification features like story characters and branching scenarios. As employees embark on this game-like learning journey (known as the Slack Certification), they explore new situations and ideas, whilst knowing that there are no real-life consequences for making the wrong move.

But if a gamified course sounds a little too complicated, there are simpler best practices in training and development you can try for your tech employees. For example, set your employees’ minds free through opt-in innovation forums and projects.

These could be groups that meet after work to exchange ideas and solve problems or discussions hosted via online forums on your LMS. Next time you identify a product or process challenge, create a voluntary group and let your employees try their hand at tackling it.

4. Make Learning Quick And Accessible

Ever heard of the Pareto Principle [3]? It says that 80% of the results of, well, anything, will come from only 20% of the cause. Applied to tech employee training, then, this rule says that 80% of performance improvement will come from just 20% of the training program. So the logical advice would be to focus your training on the most important 20%, right?

The problem is, you can’t always know what that 20% is. And besides, your employees are probably still going to need the other 80% of learning from time to time. So in fact, the best tip we can offer you is to incorporate microlearning into your tech employee training and development process.

Microlearning packages content into bite-sized chunks of learning, like short ‘how-to’ videos, that can quickly and easily be referred back to when needed. This type of learning is quick, convenient, and specific to the situation the employees find themselves in.

Perhaps one of the best microlearning examples of training and development programs for tech employees is Google’s Whisper course [4]. Every time a manager receives feedback from a team member, this course prompts them to take a micro-lesson that focuses on improving the same specific area of performance. Now that’s tech employee training with immediate effect!

Conclusion

Want to survive and thrive in the software industry? Then your team needs to think like Apple, react like Google and change like Microsoft. Because only the fittest will survive the technology race. Isn’t it time your team started training?

References:

[1] IT Industry Outlook 2019

[2] Hit Refresh: How A Growth Mindset Culture Tripled Microsoft's Value

[3] Pareto Principle

[4] Whisper courses: on-the-job microlearning with email

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