Organizational training can be transformative. When done well, a high-quality learning event can shift perspectives and make individuals excited about creating positive changes in the workplace. However, when training has no follow-up, all of that excitement will quickly fizzle, especially as the information obtained in the training session is forgotten over time. Without a retention strategy, after just a few weeks, it might feel like the training never happened, or, even worse, individuals will feel that they went through the training for no reason, because nothing has changed. You can avoid this common pitfall by staying connected to learners after training has taken place.
Why Staying Connected to Learners Is Essential
Whether you run a training session yourself or bring in a third party to deliver the learning event, having a retention strategy that continues to engage participants is critical if you want long-term results. Staying connected to learners after training is important because:
- Content must stay fresh – If the learning is not reinforced quickly after training and at regular intervals, individuals will not retain the information they need in order to apply new skills on the job
- Knowledge must be applied - It is one thing to know what to do different but it is quite another to use those new skills in the daily demands of the workplace. One critical success factor is to enlist the participants’ leaders in the process. They must set the expectation of seeing the new behaviors and then encourage, coach, and commend the expected new behaviors as they being to be demonstrated on the job
- Results must be measured – Monitoring results and measuring success will help ensure that new knowledge is being applied by all participants. Measurement also demonstrates that the organization is committed to getting results from the training.
Remember to keep your eye on the prize. Training is not just about gaining new skills, but also about applying them. Try the following tips to sustain organizational training results.
How to Stay Connected to Learners After Training
There are countless ways to stay connected to learners, and, in general, it’s best to use a combination of methods that include involvement from leadership, personal connections, and digital tools.
Examples of methods you can employ on a personal level to improve retention and encourage participants to apply their new skills include:
- One-on-one coaching that focuses on an action plan created during training
- Leader-led discussions that reference the training and model the desired behavior
- Peer group discussions to discuss challenges and solutions
- Booster training sessions to review and reinforce training content
- Feedback assessments for individuals, colleagues, and leadership
Some of the digital tools you can utilize are:
- Refresher courses using an e-learning platform with training modules
- Internal social media and forum tools to facilitate discussion online
- Online games that cover aspects of the training material
- Web-based training portals that contain learning materials and track progress
- Apps that allow individuals to provide real-time feedback on the job
- Online podcasts, videos, and webinars that reinforce training
The combination of methods you use to stay connected to learners will depend on the available resources and in-house skill sets. You can also outsource elements of your retention strategy to a qualified provider to gain from its expertise and lessen the burden on internal resources.
Without a plan to stay connected to learners, you will not get the most from your training dollars. It’s worth putting resources into both a high-quality learning event and a smart retention strategy if you want to get the best return on your investment.