How to Train Your Workers

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Typical company mindset:

"Just hand them operation manuals."

And execs wonder why training days kill their bottom lines?

Conventional wisdom sucks.

To train your employees, forget what others are doing. Forget the lengthy manuals, lectures, and videos. Instead, get your workers practicing the skills you want. Quickly. If you're training PHP programmers, have them create "mini" games. If you're training chefs, hold a bake-off contest. If you're training mechanics, have them fix a beat-up car.

Seek the two-way environment.

People train better if they're exposed to an interactive environment; says YaYa's Keith Ferrazzi and Jane Chen: "Employees learn and retain more from interactive games than they do from the one-way delivery of information."

The Typical Training Sucks

  • Boss: Here's a manual.
  • Bob: Okay.
  • Boss: Read it.
  • Bob: Okay.
  • Boss: Have you read it?
  • Bob: Yes. (Not really.)
Training at typical companies are disasters because they:
  1. Waste Time
  2. Waste Company Money
  3. Waste Employee Potential

Instead, use Chrysler's two-way mindset:

Chrysler uses an on-line game to help train Jeep and Dodge dealers on the nuances of different four-wheel-drive systems. Players learn by assembling drive-train components in a virtual motor pool and then applying that knowledge in a simulated driving experience through a variety of environments. Preliminary results show a ten-times better retention rate from playing the game than from reading a manual.
We small guys probably can't afford building a humongous on-line game like Chrysler. But, we can all incorporate the sweet two-way interactive mindset in our training environments (e.g. through affordable game questionnaires, choose-your-own-adventures, and of course: exposing them to the actual environment).

No More Training Mediocrity.

Imagine coaching a football game without exposing your team to a practice game. Or, putting a broadcaster on the air with just training books. They could be the greatest manual nerds in the world, but the one-way mindset won't build the skills you desire. The template:

Interactive training rocks.

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Posted on August 04

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