Welcome back to part two of our series on The Great Resignation. In part one, we covered a brief history of The Great Resignation and walked through the main way to stop resignations before they start—great onboarding. If you haven’t read that post yet or need a quick refresher on what we talked about there, here’s the link.
As we teased at the end of that first post, onboarding is vital in aligning new teammates and keeping them engaged when they start at your company. Next up comes engaging the more tenured folks. My guess is that great onboarding and a delightful new hire experience could keep most people content for their first six months on the job. But if there’s zero professional development, career coaching, or quality workplace training, then teammates will feel, at best, demotivated, and, at worst, like it’s time to start looking at other job options. This calls for a makeover.
So, what does great workplace training look like?
Spoiler alert: It goes way beyond sending out a list of training programs for employees’ development or assigning the standard regulatory compliance training.
No, according to the acclaimed Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the kind of workplace training that keeps existing employees engaged and productive (and around) are things like…
- Coaching: Think beyond quarterly performance reviews or the occasional piece of advice in a bi-weekly 1:1. People crave consistent, constructive feedback from a trusted advisor.
- Mentoring: Think about how good it feels to have someone a few steps ahead of you in life—either personally or professionally—who’s open and honest with you and speaks into your current situations. Mentors make work (and everything else) better.
- Cross-Training: Think about upskilling your employees and giving their curiosity the green light. There’s a sense of freedom teammates feel when they can learn about other things or acquire new knowledge that doesn’t directly pertain to their day-to-day work. Not to mention that it’s good for business in the long run to have employees with a breadth of work experiences.
- “Stretch” Assignments: Think of challenging your teammates. As much as everyone enjoys the occasional slower day of work, in the long-run, those days don’t satisfy. Employees, almost universally, like to be close to the action and challenged. Give out those opportunities if you have the power to do so.
A quick soap box spiel on what we’ve turned training into.
I’ll keep this short, I promise. Somewhere along the road, we’ve turned training into something with such a negative connotation. Even for me—as someone who’s been working for just a few years now—I’ve picked up on this view of training after listening to friends and family members talk about it:
- “There goes an hour I’ll never get back.”
- “Today I sat through another meeting about workplace safety topics. I get it’s important, but isn’t there a better way to convey this information?”
- “Nothing gets me more excited to log on than these annual seven-part compliance training courses.”
Training’s job is not to be fun, and it’s really important for legal and safety reasons to have the mandated training that we have. But, hear me out: I think it’s the training that’s not mandated that needs a makeover more than anything. It’s this kind of training can make your company stand out from others.
Speech over. Time to get practical.
It’s easy to write this post as someone who’s not responsible for creating the training courses for employees at my company. But I’d argue that it’s not the job of an HR pro, enablement leader, or L&D manager to ensure employee growth and success. It takes a village to roll out great mentorship programs, better coaching, and the kind of company culture where “stretch” assignments are encouraged.
So HR teammates, hiring managers, or leaders in other parts of the business—whether you’re in people management or not—it’s on all of us to make training more than just the basic safety training courses.
In practice, this looks like relying on those who’ve got experience. Did you recently hire someone in engineering who comes from a company with a killer peer-to-peer mentoring program? Tap them on the shoulder and see how they did it, or even better, see if they want to lead it at your company. Again, close to the action is where people want to be. It’s where they grow and help others grow, too.
Or maybe you’ve had a lot of mandatory training sessions lately about workplace safety training topics. That’s great, but follow up those sessions with a DISC workshop for your team, a stipend for professional development, a mass class taught by someone at your company who’s passionate about getting rid of ableism or racism or any other -ism in your workplace. A good mantra is this: Leave your employees better than you found them, and make sure your training is more than just the required workplace safety training programs.
If you think that it’s time for your team’s ongoing training to get a makeover, get a demo to see if we’re a good match.