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A Training Program That Employees Really Like

Quick training tips from health partners.

September 18, 2003
Related Topics: Behavioral Training, Service, Career Development, Employee Career Development
Creating a training program that doesn’t alienate employees, and actuallyworks as well, is no easy task. Bill Austin and other HR professionals at HealthPartners incorporated the following actions into the company’s successfulprogram:

    Make the rounds. Austin says he regularly roams through the company, strikingup conversations with both workers and managers. It’s a casual but effectiveway to pick up intelligence on work-related challenges in various departments,and to start thinking in advance about training solutions even before managementrequests help.

    Don’t overemphasize measurement as a sign of training success. Austinprefers to talk to employees about their post-training competency rather than tospend time trying to quantify it. He says that time and expense can be moreproductively applied to develop new courses to meet next month’s challenge.

    Make the program flexible enough to meet employees’ varying learningabilities. Some people are quick learners, while others need plenty of practice.That’s why OLC offers multiple sessions and allows employees to repeat coursesas often as they feel the need.

    Keep it short, and make it convenient. Austin thinks that most busy employeeslearn best when they get information in small chunks, rather than all at once.And managers are more likely to allow employees to take training programs in thefirst place if the classes are short enough that they don’t disrupt theworking day.

    Reduce the pressure. If employees worry about their performance in a course,that will either distract them from their work or deter them from participatingin the first place. Keep the atmosphere light, supportive, and non-competitive,and encourage students to discuss their anxiety about adapting to new businesspractices.

Workforce, November 2002, p. 62 -- Subscribe Now!

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