As an employer, you likely know the importance of your employees' ability to learn and grow. However, what are the best ways to foster this ability so that your workforce and company benefits? Read on to explore five techniques that can help you improve your employees' ability to learn.
It goes without saying that a well-developed workforce that makes ongoing learning a priority can do great things for an organization, but the fact of the matter is that this type of workforce typically isn't something that can be created overnight. It takes time and, of course, devotion from you, the employer. So, how can you improve your employees' learnability in order to create a workplace where everyone benefits?
Well, it all starts during the interview process. When you're interviewing a candidate for a position in your company, it's important to assess their personal strengths and weaknesses, as well as their ability to learn, and then take notes about these traits for future reference and possible training opportunities.
Having a feel for how a job candidate learns and what they're especially good at (or not so good at) can go a long way towards creating a knowledge-hungry workforce similar to the one we mentioned above. Further, by maintaining notes about your individual employees, you can maximize their learnability in the future by using multiple techniques that ultimately work in sync to better the entire organization.
The following five techniques can help you improve your employees' ability to learn:
1. Lead By Example
Although easier said than done sometimes, you should try to lead by example if you want to encourage your employees to learn and develop. In other words, if you wish to create a knowledge-seeking workforce, you must be an employer who actively seeks out learning yourself.
For instance, you could take the time to ask your employees questions and learn about processes within your company that you might not be completely familiar with. You could also make it a point to attend training seminars and then report back to your workforce with what you've learned and how it can help your business. Regardless of how you obtain new information, modeling curiosity and learnability can simultaneously influence and improve your employees' ability to learn.
2. Assess Employee Understanding
Prior to developing employee training programs, it's beneficial to assess your employees' current level of understanding regarding the specific topic at hand. This assessment will guide the creation of meaningful and relevant training content that your employees can both use and learn from.
For example, if you are planning to provide training on workplace violence, you should find out what your employees already know about the topic. This will establish a baseline so that you know what to focus your training on and prevent you from wasting time on information that your employees already know.
3. Provide Diverse Training Opportunities
It's well known that people have different learning styles, making it important to provide diverse training modalities for your employees. For example, those who are visual learners might benefit from a PowerPoint presentation containing colorful graphics, while linguistic, or verbal, learners may learn best by reading a written brochure or handout.
Training should also take into consideration the specific field of work and subject matter. For instance, in the manufacturing industry, it may be advantageous to provide hands-on training regarding operation of equipment. Following hands-on training exercises, it can be valuable for employees to perform a return demonstration that serves as an assessment of their understanding.
4. Keep Track of Employee Performance
The next technique focuses on monitoring your employees' performance to gauge their level of functioning and determine if there are areas of deficiency. If an employee is performing adequately, it may be time to raise the bar and heighten performance objectives. This will facilitate a challenging work environment that encourages ongoing learning. On the other hand, if areas of deficiency are noted, remedial training can be put in place to assist the employee in meeting current (and future) job expectations.
5. Give Positive Feedback
You can also improve your employees' ability to learn by recognizing and praising progress. In order to do this, you should actively monitor your employees and ''catch them in the act'' of demonstrating what they've been trained to do.
This gives you, the employer, an opportunity to provide positive feedback that may encourage and improve employee morale. If your employees know that you're interested in their learning and progress, they may be more receptive to future training opportunities.
Now that you know some great ways to improve your employees' ability to learn, you should be able to create a workforce that is both hungry for new information and ready to grow!
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