Jun 15th, 2012 by AJ Owen
This article is a companion post for our radio show episode bearing the same name, “When Employees Don’t Read.” The goal of this post is to prepare you for the Workplace Learning Revolution – when employees don’t read.
What happens when employees don’t read? Picture this scene: A short-tempered customer calls your business to find out the status of his order. There are special instructions on how to pull up the order status for this type of account. The employee who gets this call has never had to pull up this order type before and only vaguely recalls being trained on it.
The employee searches his email and finds the one addressing this special process. After scanning a full page of text, the employee finds a link to a 50-page user guide. While the associate is trying to find and read his training materials, the customer is bombarding the associate with impatient sighs and “I wish you’d hurry up.” Feeling pressured by the customer, the employee cracks and tells the customer, “Our systems are down, so I cannot pull up the order. Please call back later” – which by the way, is not true. This infuriates the customer and he requests to speak with a supervisor to cancel his order.
This is an unfortunate, but all-too-common occurrence in the workplace – stressed and rushed employees who must wade through reading material may opt to make up their own policies or give out misinformation. This behavior obviously can have an impact on a company’s reputation, sales and ultimately its growth.
While it’s easy to blame the employee for their lack of character in this situation, even the best employee can have a temporary lapse under pressure. But your team can guard against these failures by removing barriers to workplace learning and designing learning that meets the needs of the modern day employee. This means, you may need to revisit what effective training means for your employees and for your organization.
Take the following simple, 3-column audit to see if your workplace is prepared to meet the training needs of the modern day learner.
On a blank sheet of paper or in Microsoft Excel, create three columns with the following titles:
- Column One: What Business Critical Tasks Can Be Improved with Training?
- Column Two: What’s the Most Effective Method of Training We Can Use to Teach Each Task?
- Column Three: What Additional Resources/Support/Mindset Will Enable Us to Train This Way?
These three questions are great starting points for understanding the capacity of your business to support changes in training that reflect modern trainee needs in an organization. Training is important because it’s important that your customers receive consistent, fair and high quality service during each interaction with your company. But when workers are winging it, they are probably giving out inaccurate information that upsets the customer, maybe causing them to move to the competitor or at least causing customer them to speak negatively about you to other potential customers. So, it really is worth it to align your training methods with the needs of your employees.
If you’d like some help with this task, APTD does offer free initial consultations. Contact us at 832 243 4083 for more info.