One of the companies that I coach has brought all employees back to office, with strong safety guidelines in place. Several clients have gone fully remote, and others are now hybrid, with a specific date to reevaluate.
It’s a confusing time and leaders are all navigating the complex world of what their future of work inside or outside the office looks like. During a time like this, it’s easy to neglect one of the core components of a successful company, which is to train your employees and your managers. That’s especially true during the hectic and confounding time we are facing right now.
In my book From Start-up to Grown-up, I devote a section to the importance of training your employees and managers. This is important for start-ups as well as Fortune 50 companies, and during this time of transition it might be something you are neglecting.
I work with all of my clients to embed employee training in their companies without making it an expensive and time-consuming ordeal. Although taking a day or two away from the office and devoting IT training is valuable, there are plenty of other ways you can maintain employee training. By using a more light touch way, you can continue to help people build their skills and their careers.
Here are four resources for you to use as you plan your training agenda for the rest of the year.
MORE FOR YOU
Hone delivers live online cohort-based training and is constructed specifically for remote and hybrid teams. (disclosure: I am an advisor to Hone.)
Hone provides a large catalog of courses you can take on your own or with your teams. The topics span people management, building influence, handling conflict, leading 1-1s, and embracing diversity and inclusion.
“Hone allows people, regardless of location or seniority, to access engaging, convenient learning on the most important topics in the workplace,” Hone co-founder and CEO Tom Griffiths said.
According to Griffiths, the world is in the middle of a shift to the “third age of training.” Their approach combines the intimacy and interactivity of live classroom training with the scale of a technology platform. “We marry the best of digital learning with the best of live instructors to give employees an engaging, personalized learning experience that works with their schedule and educational needs.”
The approach works, according to Griffiths. “Our data shows that 90 percent of learners are using their new skills weeks after using our platform,” he said. “Learners get to know their coworkers better and have deeper conversations than they normally would by going through the training together.”
The LeaderKit by Rising Team
Founded by Jennifer Dulski, Rising Team offers the LeaderKit, which addresses what Dulski calls the “last mile problem” in leadership training. While traditional training can offer valuable learning opportunities, once managers come back from training, they often realize that they don’t have the full toolkit to implement what they learned with their teams. (Rising Team is currently offering a first month free promotion.)
The LeaderKit solves this by offering a set of self-guided modules delivered once a month for managers to use with their teams. Each module includes training around a key leadership theme, an interactive exercise to do with the team, and a fully guided team-building workshop. Subjects include psychological safety, setting clear goals, giving feedback, and other topics that help your team feel more connected and work better together. (I got a chance to walk through a demo of the LeaderKit. It truly is self-guided, it’s beautifully designed, and the curriculum is high quality.)
“When you look at the data,” Dulski told me, “you see that employee engagement is the element most highly correlated to a company’s success. And 70% of employee engagement is driven by the quality of individual managers, according to Gallup, yet most managers don’t really feel equipped for their jobs.” With the LeaderKit, managers get the support of tools to help them lead their own training and, by going through it as a team, drive engagement.
Internal Career Panel
You don’t necessarily need to look to outside resources to implement training with your employees. You have experts around you: the people inside of your company.
A lightweight way to give your people some training is to create a panel of some of your employees. You can tune the panel towards topics that will be meaningful to the people in your company. If you’d like to focus on leadership, bring together three people who are successful leaders inside of your company to have them talk about their philosophies, strategies and specific techniques they use. If you see that your employees need some help building their careers you can bring together people – possibly from different levels – who have successfully advanced in their own careers to share their roadmaps.
You can easily do panels like this over an in-person lunch or on a video platform. You can also record sessions like this and create a library of resources employees can access.
Once you decide on the topic you’d like to cover, who will be on the panel, and how you will hold it (video, in person or hybrid), spend some time thinking up some good questions to ask.
For a leadership panel, you might ask:
- Who were the leadership role models in your life and what did you learn from them?
- How do you personally continue working on your skills as a manager and leader?
- What is the most important advice anyone ever gave you about leadership and management that you still use?
For a career development panel you can include:
- What has your career ladder looked like so far?
- How have you seen and capitalized on career opportunities as they’ve come your way?
- What are specific suggestions you have for people to take ownership of their own careers?
You can also ask the people you tap to make themselves available as mentors. Or your managers who are learning together can pair up to talk about their challenges. People learn more easily when they have a person they can ask questions of regularly and when they feel they are learning together in a self-directed way with their peers.
Train yourself too
As you focus on training your employees, don’t forget to train yourself. It’s important for you to take some time to develop your own skills.
Set a training goal for yourself to read a certain amount, or take a number of classes either live or online, per quarter. That way you’ll know that you are both building your own skills and being a role model for your employees on the importance of training.