No Yawns Allowed: Keeping Employee Training Interesting

Training is an essential but often snooze-worthy part of getting a new employee acclimated with the company. But instead of watching your newest hires choke back yawns as the training goes on, consider using a few tips to keep them engaged while helping them learn more too.

Don’t just lecture

Leave the lectures to your high school history teacher. If you want new team members to retain information and stay engaged while they do it, it’s best not to just throw on a training video or stand up in front of them and speak for two hours. While there may be some degree of note taking involved as they learn, it’s much more effective if you get your new hires engaged in the material as you go. There are a few ways to do this:

  • Make it hands on: Instead of telling them how you do something, why not let them try it out for themselves? Whether it’s preparing a proposal, editing a photograph, or filing paperwork, let them do it for themselves. They’ll remember more effectively and remain interested when they’re an active part of the training.
  • Use stories: Instead of explaining why things have to be a certain way and leaving it at that, use real life stories that illustrate why certain protocol is in place. Hearing the thought behind the practice makes it easier to remember.

Just like you would tune out a lecture in school, new hires are more likely to turn off their brains during a long note taking session. A more hands-on experience keeps them engaged and excited, while helps with long-term memory.

Check for understanding periodically

For a veteran employee, it’s easy to forget how overwhelming a new job can be. However, understand that your newest hires may quickly become overwhelmed by hours upon hours of training. If possible, break the training up over the course of a few days to ensure that everyone is still absorbing what’s being presented. If this is not possible, stop periodically and check for understanding. Ask a few questions or bring up discussion points. This will make it abundantly clear whether everyone is on the same page or not.

Don’t forget to incorporate humor

While training should be taken seriously, this doesn’t mean that the entire session has to feel stiff and buttoned up. In fact, a little humor can go a long way when it comes to keeping new staffers interested. Don’t forget to lighten the mood and keep it conversational.