Mind-numbing boredom and hair-tearing frustration happen. They’re facts of life. But the thought of learning something new shouldn’t put people on autopilot. If the learner comes out of an educational offering wishing for that chunk of their life back something probably needs to be improved. This can be just as true of workflows and day-to-day processes as training.
A repair person recently finished onboarding training. Their latest customer works in eLearning and asks if the training was, “A bunch of narrated PowerPoints or an outdated video series?” The repair person freezes and looks up. “You understand! Oh, it was so bad. This is what I had to sit through…”
Onboarding is often the first real taste new hires get of an organization. If it’s dull, cheesy, stiff, etc. that’s what they’re probably going to remember. By that same logic, if it’s inspirational, fun, helpful, etc. they’ll remember that instead. Don’t just focus on “what they need to know,” put time and energy into how you want them to feel and how you can present your organization’s culture.
Now Mobile and a Waste of Time
A travelling medical professional uses their company’s provided mobile device to schedule patients and fill out paperwork. The device is so difficult to use that some of their colleagues have stopped leaving detailed notes. This person refuses to reduce their work’s quality but has to spend several extra hours on the device each night after their shift ends as a result.
Systems, processes, and tools are essential for getting work done. But if they’re poorly designed or executed, they can actually increase the time and energy tasks take. And people really don’t like it when they feel like their time is being wasted. Periodically evaluate the “how”s of your workflow process and see where there’s room for improvement. Follow up when you get complaints from reliable organization members. They’ll appreciate being listened to and can often provide insight you might not be able to get any other way.
A college professor came back from vacation to find that the school had implemented a “new” curriculum development program while they were away. After going through the information the professor told them, “I’m the one who created this program, back in the 80s.”
Being behind the times is rarely a good thing. Not only does it look bad on the surface, it also means that the organization is missing out on improvements and advancements. This isn’t to say that “old” automatically means “bad.” After all, things that work well tend to stick around. But it’s important to be aware of current developments. You can only find something better if you keep an eye open for it.
It may seem like having so-so training or an okay workflow process doesn’t do any harm. They could probably be better but they get the job done, right? Maybe not. What people think and how they feel about training is tied to what they think about the organization as a whole. If someone had to judge your organization based only on the training and support it provides what would they see? What impression does it give? Would you want to go through it?
If you’d like to read more about training, learning, and instructional design check out the rest of this author’s blogs.
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