Frontline managers are the real heroes of organizations. They are responsible for executing many of an organization’s crucial day to day operations. Despite being a chief part of success, the frontline is mostly the least experienced tier of managers in a company. The rate of attrition among the frontline is also extremely high. A recent commentary revealed that annual turnover rates of 100% or more are not uncommon in frontline jobs. The cost of replacing these employees is exceptionally high for organizations to bear. As per SHRM, it costs employers approximately six to nine months of an employee’s salary to find a replacement!
In order to reduce the burden of such costs, employee turnover needs to be taken seriously and steps need to be taken to curb it. Efforts need to be made with the objective of lowering volatility and establishing long term stability.
One of the biggest reasons of attrition is the feeling of being inadequate or underprepared for responsibilities. If employees feel like they aren’t growing professionally or their organization does not care about developing them as professionals, they are bound to get frustrated and put in their papers. Employers need to understand the importance of this and fix it. The answer lies in employee training. A lot of organizations have realized the importance of effective training programs in reducing attrition rates for their frontline.
But such training also needs to be effective or else the whole point is lost. Ineffective training can also cost organizations a lot which is why they need to play it safe. In fact, the total loss to a business from ineffective training stands at a staggering $13.5M per year per 1000 employees! If you are also facing lower engagement and productivity among the frontline despite training efforts, maybe there is a need to relook at the way training is planned, delivered and measured.
Here are some sure shot ways of ensuring training success of your frontline employees:
1. Management buy-in
This is one of the most crucial prerequisite before planning a training program. Management buy-in and approval of the key decision makers and stakeholders of the organization is extremely important for ensuring success of training initiatives. At every stage of the training, the right kind of leaders need to be involved. This is important not only because leaders need to be aware of what is going on, but also because employees need to be convinced that their development is being taken seriously by the organization.
When leaders extend their whole hearted support to training programs and participate in discussions related to it, employees will also be sincere about it. Having the right leaders talk about the importance of training and being there through the various stages will give employees the confidence and inspiration to participate. Only when training becomes a vital part of an organization’s official program will it make employees give it an honest and fair chance.
2. Effective communication and clear onboarding process
Just pushing training out to employees is not going to yield positive results. Employees and their opinions need to be involved even before the training takes place. The what’s and why’s of the training program need to be clearly communicated and their opinion also needs to be taken at every stage. After all, employees know best about what they want to learn. The employees are the learners for which they need to know about the curriculum, the learning methodologies being deployed at every stage, the objectives of the training program and how it will help them develop into better professionals.
Employees need to feel like their organization is actually interested in investing in their development. Without knowing why training is even taking place and compelling the employees to consume modules without any clear intention is going to make them lose interest in the whole idea. Professional development is what employees want. Everything from the start to the end needs to be conveyed in a transparent manner.
3. Engaging content
1 out of every 3 employees say that uninspiring content is a barrier to their learning.
Content is the most important engaging tool in successful learning programs. Superior content is key to ensuring that once employees participate in the training, they also stick by it and complete the whole process. If content is not exciting enough, the objectives of the learning program will not be met. Unless employees feel a connection to what they are learning, it is less likely that they will absorb or be able to retain the knowledge.
Make sure you invest in this aspect of the training program, involving subject matter experts and instructional designers to create power packed content for your employees. Choose what kind of content works best for your employees by providing a variety of ways for them to learn and practice. Because learning needs to be convenient, make sure it’s bite-sized and graphically rich. The design, layout, images or audio that you use needs to make sense to your audience.
4. Frequent monitoring
Training is more or less useless if its impact is not measured. And the measurement of training needs to be frequent. Every step of the process needs to be carefully examined and re-examined to witness trends and changes that might be required to refine the training. Conducting assessments after each training program helps in understanding exactly how much knowledge employees have actually been able to grasp and apply on the job.
Learning is not a one-time event but a continuous process, which is why on the basis the reaction of the employees to the training program and their performance, it needs to be continuously refreshed so that the learning is retained for long term.
5. Resolving issues as they arise
Since we are talking about using technology to deploy employee training, technical issues are bound to arise. The biggest mistake would be to ignore these blockages and not clearing them up as soon as they pop up. Be it issues related to activation of the training program or its effective functioning on a mobile device in all its formats, any kind of handicap needs to be resolved at the earliest so that the training takes place as smoothly as possible. Everything needs to be simple, easy to understand and to operate as too many hindrances can end up demotivating the learner. So make sure there is strong tech support to resolve technical issues at any time required.
6. Sincerity about rewards
The biggest incentive that organizations provide to their employees to complete their training programs is some sort of rewards at the end of it. The biggest source of demotivation for employees could be when the employers oblige to such promises and do not live up to them.
If any such promises are made, they should be given out as soon as the learner completes a certain stage or performs well in the program. This not only acts as a motivating factor but also instills a sense of faith and trust among the employees that promises are being met. They will feel cared for and appreciated. Make sure there is an internal process set up for rewards so that everything takes place as promised.
The success of training programs is a two-way street. Both organizations and employees need to participate with full convincement and interest. Only then can organizations reap the benefits of lower attrition and productive employees, and employees grow professionally through continuous learning. Faltering on any part will lead to failure of training programs.