THE BLOG

3 Ways to Incorporate (Fun!) Ongoing Training in the Workplace

03/18/2015 09:34 am ET | Updated May 17, 2015

Training session at Voices.com

Are you adjusting your training processes for your younger employees? If you aren't you should.

When you employ a growing workforce of young professionals, it doesn't take long to notice their insatiable appetite for learning and how using that knowledge or experience will help advance their careers.

One of the core values we celebrate at my company is education. Lifelong learning is important to us, so we find ways to include interesting yet practical opportunities that build upon existing skills or introduce new ones. With a team of nearly 80 people, the majority of whom are millennials, you can only imagine how exciting working in such an environment can be. At the same time, our average age distribution means a high bar for learning and advancement opportunities. So we're always on the lookout for fresh content and a steady stream of immediately applicable takeaways.

This group of overachievers tends to appreciate the personal touch, favoring live, interactive presentations over the traditional lecture format or independent study. That said, our ongoing training opportunities touch on a variety of topics, all of which are relevant to their daily activities in the office. Focusing on tools of the trade, industry knowledge and practical, hands-on learning is vital to engagement and retention because it is in the learning that they can master new skills and build a foundation for future growth.

Here are a few ways that we embed regular training sessions into our schedule:

  • Training Tuesdays
  • Wednesday Lunch & Learns
  • The Voices.com Rally

1 - Training Tuesdays

Every Tuesday at 1 p.m., we dedicate anywhere from fifteen minutes to an hour for training that focuses on the tools of the trade. This includes systems, processes, work aids, and general onboarding. Some of these sessions are mandatory, particularly for newer employees who are still being immersed in the culture and finding their feet. Specific courses offered are part of an ongoing curriculum to ensure everyone has received the same training over time.

Occasionally, this venue is used for mandatory sessions from our HR Manager to boost overall knowledge of company policy and ensure compliance with government legislation. Every training session is considered a course. Enrolment opens for a given course and people are encouraged to register so that they get credit for trainings attended.

2 - Wednesday Lunch & Learns

Earlier this year, I noticed that there was a notable gap between our overall company knowledge of people, process and product versus our collective depth and understanding of industry knowledge. While we are the leading online voice-over marketplace and a respected subject matter expert in the field, our team has grown rapidly in the last two years and not everyone has the same professional background. This realization presented an opportunity to develop new, pithy training sessions to further educate our team on nuances of the business.

The granularity and practical nature of these trainings has been well received and enjoyed measurable success. One week we might be doing improv. Another week, it might be interpreting a script or giving voice direction. Maybe it's learning how to listen like a casting director. These trainings are optional, with online enrolment via our internal messaging system that gives people credit for attendance. These sessions are also highly interactive, and only consume fifteen minutes during the lunch hour. Courses are designed based upon feedback in order to explore aspects of the business that fascinate those in attendance.

3 - The Voices.com Rally

At the start of each month, we hold a company-wide meeting called the Rally. For the first part of the meeting, our CEO introduces various representatives from different departments who present on what they accomplished the previous month followed by what they are working on currently. The second half of the Rally is dedicated to learning, whether it be a team building exercise to get to know each other better or splitting off into teams to compete in our own versions of Jeopardy or Family Feud. Many of these games are interactive and draw upon pre-existing knowledge. Wherever and whenever possible, we weave in practical, insightful and relevant learnings that our team can connect with to help them on the job while simultaneously nurturing our corporate culture and living out our mission, vision and values.

Whatever your cadence for training, be sure that you're offering a variety of educational opportunities consistently. You'll also want to include an element of fun and see that participation in a course counts toward an employee's record. This way, when it comes time for a performance review, salary appraisal or advancement within the organization, you have a track record of what trainings they have received, their level of engagement, desire to lead and learn.