Monday February 24, 2020
 

The best benefit nobody’s using: How to fix your EAP

It’s no secret that employees are stressed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says job-related anxiety is the leading workplace health problem in the U.S.

Not only is an abundance of stress not good for business and productivity, it can have detrimental effects on people’s long-term health.

Underutilized services

Employers have been working hard to tackle their employees’ stress and burnout, offering perks such as wellness programs and flexible schedule options.

Many companies have an employee assistance program (EAP), which offers helpful services like on-demand counseling and therapy referrals.

With advances in technology, EAPs today can offer even more valuable services, such as:

  • financial education classes
  • healthy eating/sleeping information, and
  • help maintaining a good work/life balance.

The problem is, employees aren’t taking advantage of these. Multiple studies show the average EAP utilization rate is below 10%.

So why aren’t employees using EAPs when they need these services now more than ever?

Workers could be a little wary to take advantage of EAPs, which could stem from a lack of trust in their organization. They may not want to divulge personal information, or they might just be confused about what the program offers.

Changing the status quo

But if you have an EAP in place, you want your people to use it!

You can’t make any major changes happen overnight, but here are five tactics you can use to start boosting your EAP utilization rates.

  1. Communicate the program effectively. Your employees can’t use your EAP if they don’t know about it or where to find additional information. Employers should put EAP info everywhere — the employee handbook, fliers around the office, links on the intranet homepage, etc.

    It’s also a great idea to start including EAP information in your orientation and onboarding programs. Let new hires know from the start that it’s there for them if they need it.

  2. Promote online and mobile capabilities. Does your EAP have its own website or app? Make sure your staff knows about it. The easier it is for them to access, the more likely they’ll use it.

    Another good idea is to have EAP apps and online shortcuts downloaded onto all electronic work devices. This will constantly remind employees the program’s there and will increase accessibility.

  3. Train your managers and get them involved. Department managers are the leaders who know employees the best. Get them to be vigilant and look out for any workers who may not be acting like themselves. Managers can then offer the employee EAP information if they feel it’s warranted.

    It’s important to note that managers should be trained on handling these situations sensitively.

  4. Have a benefits fair. Organizing an internal event like this will do wonders for promoting your EAP, as well as other benefits available to employees.

    A great thing to include would be any employees willing to discuss their experience with the EAP firsthand.

  5. Track EAP usage and obtain feedback. Keep an eye on the stats to see how effective your efforts are. It’d be a good idea to look for any spikes in EAP usage, too, which could give you insight on overly stressful business periods.

    And don’t forget to ask your people for feedback on the program! See if there’s anything specific that would increase usage.

The post The best benefit nobody’s using: How to fix your EAP appeared first on HR Morning.

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Court: Apple violated wage and hour laws

The California Supreme Court recently ruled that tech giant Apple must pay its employees for mandatory bag searches.

This decision came after a lawsuit was filed challenging Apple’s security policy, in which employees’ bags and personal Apple devices must be searched any time they leave the store.

Off-the-clock searches

These searches were being conducted off the clock, and employees argued they should be compensated for this time. The California Supreme Court agreed.

It pointed to several factors to prove this time was compensable. First of all, employees testified the searches could take anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes, depending on how many workers were waiting.

The court also said the searches were primarily for “the benefit of the employer,” not the employee. Apple tried to argue employees had the option of not bringing bags or personal Apple devices to work — therefore not being subjected to searches — but the court dismissed that argument as irrelevant.

Apple now must pay these employees back wages and adjust its bag search policy. This is a good reminder for all employers to avoid requiring your employees to do anything off the clock.

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How small businesses can attract top Millennial talent

Small businesses face a unique set of challenges when it comes to hiring – and retaining – top talent as they compete with larger companies with more resources and established brand names. Those challenges can become even more daunting for small businesses aiming to attract top talent from the millennial workforce.

Why?

Millennials continue to redefine the expectations around benefits, perks and the culture they value in their workplaces. Some things that used to be considered a “nice to have” have become a “need to have,” as Millennials emphasize a work-life balance, flexibility and employers with purpose in their job hunts.

It’s expected that 75% of the global workforce will be composed of Millennials by 2025, so it’s essential that small business owners understand how to stand out and attract Millennial talent.

Many of the benefits that Millennials have advocated for are becoming attractive to all generations of workers. So, by making your benefits offering more millennial-friendly, you’ll improve your talent approach overall.

Here’s how your small business can reach this particular generation with benefits offerings that appeal to their unique set of desires and challenges.

Student loan debt

The millennial generation is infamously straddled with student loan debt – and it’s impacting their professional and personal lives. A 2018 Boston College study found that graduates with student loans accumulate 50% less retirement wealth by age 30 – something that could drastically alter their security and comfort later in life.

Money continues to be a leading cause of stress among Americans, according to the American Psychological Association, so it’s likely the stress of student loan debt is wearing on your millennial employees, too.

Employers have started to step up to the plate to help. In fact, from 2018 to 2019, the number of employers who now provide this benefit has doubled, according to the Society of Human Resources Management. Whether you’re able to offer a repayment assistance plan or repayment bonuses, any type of student debt assistance benefit can give your small business a competitive boost if you’re looking to hire members of this debt-laden generation.

Debt assistance not possible? Consider
that many millennials are now parents themselves and are likely intimidated by
the prospect of saving for the rising cost of college. An employer-matched 529
savings plan for employees is another way to show them you are invested in
their (and their families’) futures – so they can relieve debt for their next
generation.

Financial literacy

In addition to dealing with debt,
millennials came of age during a recession – so this generation values financial
security and overall financial wellness and literacy.

While individualized options are great for tailoring investing and retirement planning to an individual’s goals, these additional options can also make the selection process that much more overwhelming.

Small businesses can show candidates and employees that their overall financial wellness is a priority by empowering them with educational tools and programs that foster financial literacy and help them make smart investing decisions for their futures. These programs can come in many forms, such as one-on-one coaching with an advisor or educational workshops.

Incorporating financial literacy into your employee benefits package doesn’t have to be formal (or expensive). Beyond a formalized program, you can also tap into your existing service providers to ensure you’re utilizing all of your resources without hindering your bottom line. Your benefits provider can and should be a resource that you go to when it comes to financial education for your employees.

Many providers often offer free, on-site workshops that can be conducted via an informal “lunch and learn” series or presentations for employees. Employees who understand their benefits options fully are more likely to choose the plan that is the best fit for them.

Autonomy

Large organizations might run into
roadblocks when implementing flexible work policies for their entire employee
base. But as a small business, offering employees autonomy and flexibility is
often easy – and it’s a great way to stand out against your bigger competitors
in the war for talent.

Your small business can empower employees by actively supporting work-life balance, such as remote work, flexible workdays or unlimited PTO, which prioritizes the employee’s needs and illustrates your trust in their judgment and ability to manage themselves.

Showing your employees you trust them cultivates a sense of autonomy and responsibility among your workforce and, as a secondary bonus, can actually help improve efficiencies within your business. And millennials appreciate an employer that shows them they’re trusted – so offering this benefit is often a win-win for both parties!

Simple technology

Offering these benefits are great for getting top millennial talent through your doors. But in order to keep them there, you need to continuously meet them where they are – which is, more often than not, on their smartphones.

In order to take advantage of the great benefits you have in place, employees need to know what they’re offered and how to enroll and participate – so user-friendly technology and communication are both key.

Millennials are a technology-first generation, and your HR and benefits processes should reflect this. When implemented correctly, benefits technology has the power to make selections streamlined and efficient. If you’re still using pen and paper to enroll employees, check with your provider about online enrollment options.

Online enrollment allows employees to easily shift through the increasingly personalized options, enabling them to feel confident that they’re making the best selections.

Technology can also make it easier for employees to check in on their benefits (e.g., look at how many PTO days they have remaining or check the balance of their child’s 529 account), as mobile options will allow them to engage with their benefits providers directly and on the go.

Remember: Not all hiring strategies have
to be costly or resource-intensive, but choosing the right benefits for your
target recruits can make all the difference between losing out on top talent to
bigger fish and finding all-star employees who are equally as invested in your
business as you are.

The post How small businesses can attract top Millennial talent appeared first on HR Morning.

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Only 28% of employees say they feel connected to their company’s purpose

In order to cultivate a successful business with happy employees, it is highly important to have a clearly defined purpose. Many businesses don’t have a true strategy when it comes to describing their company purpose, choosing to fill in the blank with almost anything.

Because many leaders have no connection with their outlined purpose, they aren’t capable of fully integrating it into their business operations – and employees feel less connected than ever.

Your company’s purpose is the reason you do what you do.
It’s that underlying focus of what you hope to achieve all boiled down to a
couple of sentences. Purpose is separate from your mission statement. It
describes what value you intend to provide to your customers and guides you and
your employees into achieving its true plan.  

Clearly defining your purpose is crucial for three reasons.

Increased productivity

An employee survey in a recent Harvard Business Review article found that only 28% of respondents felt connected to their company’s purpose. In addition, 39% of employees said they could clearly see the value they create, while only 22% agreed that their jobs were fully leveraging their strengths. Just one in three, or 34%, thought they were strongly contributing to their company’s success.

On the other hand, when companies had a clearly defined purpose, the positive results were obvious.

In the same Harvard Business study, 90% of organizations that had a clearly defined purpose that resonated with employees saw growth and profits at or above the industry average. Furthermore, over 60% of employees said they were motivated and/or passionate about their work, which was almost twice as much as companies that didn’t have a defined purpose.

Better customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is a popular motivator for many
company purposes. The role of employees in building relationships with
customers means that they should have a strong connection to the company’s
purpose. If employees feel disconnected from their purpose, so too will the
customers with whom they interact with on a daily basis.

Loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase, meaning customer satisfaction has to have more than passing significance to your organization. Before even the profit of your brand, customer satisfaction needs to be of the utmost importance to succeed. It’s true that it’s more difficult to find new customers than it is to build up the loyal ones you already have.

Ensuring your employees are satisfied with what they do is the key to ensuring your customers are also happy.

Clear competitive advantage

An article on Gallup defines the competitive advantage that comes with a clearly defined purpose: “Establishing and operating from an anchor of purpose can create a competitive advantage: A company’s competitors might be able to replicate products and services, but that company can successfully differentiate itself from the rest by hiring and engaging employees who can fulfill and deliver its purpose and brand in the marketplace.”

Many articles and experts may encourage your company’s purpose to become the underlying factor that guides all your business decisions, however, it might be even more important to focus on its importance in the great scheme of long term success in order to distinguish you from competitors.

If employees can associate their work with how it will align with the organization’s purpose long-term (in how they treat customers as well as how business managers treat employees and promote their actions with customers), then there’s a stronger chance of success.

Implementing a solid employee recognition and engagement strategy is one of the first steps you can take towards motivating your employees to understand and connect with company purpose, as well as instilling and reinforcing core values.

When employees are recognized both from their peers as well as their superiors (and they’re able to recognize you back), the playing field is equalized, and your purpose becomes a driving force that’s just as important to the entire work team as it is to the business owners – and everyone, including your customers, will want the company to succeed.

The post Only 28% of employees say they feel connected to their company’s purpose appeared first on HR Morning.

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EEOC data show Title VII retaliation cases rising

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reported in late January that it fielded 72,675 charges of workplace discrimination in 2019, the largest number alleging retaliation. Those figures don’t include any charges filed with state or local fair employment agencies, which EEOC does not report.

The number was down slightly from 2018’s tally of more than 76,000 charges. The number of suits filed under all federal fair employment statutes also dropped, from 217 in 2018 to 157 last year.

Title VII payouts up

Of the approximately 73,000 charges filed with EEOC in 2019, more than half were complaints of retaliation. The largest number of those retaliation complaints alleged retaliation for complaints protected by Title VII.

Those cases involve employment discrimination based on an individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

Title VII charges were followed by disability- and age-related complaints.

About 180 suits filed in 2018 or earlier were resolved in 2019. Total monetary benefits obtained through mediation, conciliation, and settlements totaling $39.1 million in 2019, down from $53.6 million in 2018, due mainly to a decrease in payments for ADA– and ADEA-related cases.

Payouts in cases involving retaliation under Title VII rose to $25.8 million. That was up compared to both 2018 and 2017.

LGBT-related cases rising

One of the stats that stands out from the 2019 EEOC retaliation data is the continued rise in the number of LGBT-based sex discrimination charges and monetary payouts despite a lack of clear guidance from the nation’s highest court.

In 2004, the first full year of EEOC tracking this category, 1,100 charges resulted in $2.2 million in monetary benefits and settlement payments. Last year, 1,868 charges resulted in $7 million in payments.

Keep in mind that EEOC found “No
Reasonable Cause” in more than 60% of charges every year they’ve tracked this
category. As societal attitudes toward LGBT rights evolve, that percentage may
drop and employers’ potential monetary liabilities rise.

Compliance = constant vigilance

Employers should take away one clear compliance lesson from the report: your discrimination and retaliation reporting and response programs can’t just be a few pages in your employee handbook.

HR should constantly review procedures with employees, supervisory staff and management and validate that your process is working.

The EEOC data highlights that all employees need training to understand what constitutes discrimination. And supervisors and managers must understand compliance obligations related to all EEOC laws and rules.

Equal pay in the spotlight

Suits alleging violation of the Equal Pay Act (EPA), while a small percentage of the total at just 1,117, were the highest since 2003. EPA-related awards were up slightly over last year but remain relatively flat over recent years.

Nevertheless, it might be a good time to look into a privileged gender pay equity audit.  Experts predict that the number of cases and amounts awarded for EPA violations will likely climb during 2020 and beyond, as employees and EEOC focus more attention on pay disparities.

As always, consult with counsel
before initiating any pay equity studies or policy changes.

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Survey: How 200 managers approach one-on-one meetings

One-on-one meeting agenda app, Soapbox, recently surveyed over 200 managers to learn how they conduct one-on-one meetings with their teams.  Turns out, regardless of seniority, role or department, there were many common threads around how these managers approached one-on-one meetings.

Here’s a brief breakdown of some of the key findings:

Managers hold weekly one-on-ones

About one in two managers, 49%, have one-on-one meetings on a weekly basis, while 59% have them for 30 minutes. This was the most common occurrence found among survey respondents.

Having weekly meetings with employees helps to build rapport, trust and a continuous feedback loop. Of the 6% of managers that said they were NOT doing one-on-ones, the most common reason for not having them was lack of time or lack of perceived need.

Managers/employees share agenda

Another 49% of managers say they share responsibility with their direct report for what’s on the meeting agenda, while 15% say that they control the meeting agenda but wish their direct report would. One-on-one meetings aren’t for the benefit of the manager, but for the employee. It’s the manager’s job to create a safe space for their employees to feel comfortable sharing feedback and contributing to a two-way dialogue.

A full 70% of managers said that the goal of one-on-one meetings is to understand and eliminate roadblocks, while 61% said one-on-ones are for getting a pulse check and 54% said that the goal of their one-on-ones is a status update.

It’s easy to turn one-on-ones into status updates, discussing the progress of projects and getting into task-lists.

However, that’s not the real purpose of a one-on-one meeting. As Bronwyn Smith, VP of Business Operations at Influitive says, “If you are not careful, one-on-ones can end up being status updates. Or the manager can take over the meeting. This isn’t their purpose. It’s important to make sure the employee and their needs stay front and center.”

No. 1 goal: Provide value

About one in three managers, 34%, reported their biggest challenge with one-on-ones is ensuring they’re providing value to their direct reports, while 22% stated it was getting their direct reports to contribute to the meeting agenda. Three ways managers can ensure they’re providing value to their employees are:

  1. Prepare for the meeting by creating an agenda and revisiting past meeting notes.
  2. Create a psychologically safe environment where employees feel like they can speak freely and be heard.
  3. Ask meaningful questions that prompt feedback and a two-way dialogue.

To encourage employees to contribute to the
agenda, it’s important that it’s not hidden in a notebook but accessible
online.

Most don’t use meeting software

Four in ten managers, 41% reported using personal productivity tools for their agenda and notes in one-on-ones. Only 21% said they’re using purpose-built one-on-one meeting software. The benefit of having one-on-one meeting software means that all of your notes, follow-up and important information about your employees is in one shared space. It also makes it easier for employees to contribute to the meeting agenda and show up prepared.

Of the managers whose biggest challenge was having meaningful, productive conversations, 82% of these managers were not using one-on-one and team meeting software.

No. 1 topic: Growth & development

Three in four managers, 75%, said that they discuss growth and development in their one-on-ones. Only 23% stated that they discuss alignment to company mission. There’s tremendous value in creating a line between the work employees are doing and how it connects to the larger company mission.

According to a study conducted by Gallup, 59% of employees don’t know what their company stands for. Research from Imperative shows that when employees align to their companies purpose, they stay with the company longer and are happier in their roles. Easily discuss this in one-on-ones with your team by adding a recurring agenda point for reiterating the company mission and vision like “Here’s how your work this past ‘x’ is getting us close to our company vision.”

One-on-one meetings can very quickly become a waste of time for both the manager and the employee. This survey outlines, from a manager’s perspective, where the challenges lie and shows the commonalities in various different manager’s approach to one-on-ones.

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Google HR chief to step down as employee dissatisfaction mounts

Google’s head of human resources, Eileen Naughton, will step down later this year amid rising tensions between the company’s top executives and rank and file employees.

The executive departure follows many months of highly public people issues at the company, including claims of pregnancy discrimination and an allegation of sexual misconduct by a senior executive at Alphabet, Google’s parent company.

After the executive was allowed to leave with a multi-million dollar severance package, 20,000 employees walked off the job to protest that decision and to highlight what they say is a lack of diversity at the company.

Google workers have also sent all-hands emails on issues ranging from sexual harassment and retaliation, to racial and gender-based discrimination, to Pentagon contracts. And a steady stream of those internal messages has leaked out onto social media and gone viral.

Massive HR challenge

HR pros are always trying to balance the needs of the organization with all of the myriad issues employees bring to work each day. It is one of the biggest challenges in any business, whether you have five employees or 500.

At Google, Naughton had to find that balance for more than 100,000 people worldwide.

In the time since the 2018 walkout, Naughton tried to address the growing tensions at the company, putting procedures in place intended to make it easier and safer for employees to report misconduct.

She also worked to improve wages and working conditions for the thousands of temp and contract employees at the company.

But current and former employees say that the changes have not been enough to address systemic problems at Google and continue to call for more action by the company’s leadership.

With the company facing continued and vocal dissatisfaction among its rank and file, Naughton has announced she is giving up her HR role and will move to a different, unspecified job at the search and advertising giant after helping to find her replacement.

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DOL announces penalty increases for 2020

Attention, employers: It just got more expensive to violate the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) and the Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA).

Cost of noncompliance goes up

Here are the DOL’s new maximum penalties for violating the:

  • FLSA: $2,050 for willful or repeated violations of minimum wage requirements, $13,072 for child labor law violations and $59,413 for child labor law violations resulting in the child’s death
  • FMLA: $176 for failing to properly notify employees of their rights under the act
  • OSHA: $134,937 for willful or repeated safety violations, and $13,494 for failing to post safety information or failing to abate safety threats, and
  • EPPA: $21,410 for violating the act.

Click here for the DOL’s complete list of fines and additional information.

Is your workplace compliant? Find all the mandatory labor law posters you need right here.

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Become an “Employer of the Future” — Five tips for recruiting and retaining top talent

The workforce is constantly evolving and companies across all industries are adapting to ever-changing employee desires. Smart employers are striving to create a positive employee experience. That requires constantly refining how they approach human resources to ensure that they can continue to recruit and retain top talent.

From flexibility and competitive compensation to professional development opportunities and a focus on wellness, workers are seeking out desirable benefits when deciding where they want to work. While every industry has its own challenges, the unique characteristics of the healthcare sector have caused it to lag behind other industries in some respects.

I came into my position as chief human resources officer for Banner Health, one of the largest nonprofit hospital systems in the U.S., without any healthcare background. But we have moved to adopt fundamental principles for growth to ensure that we are serving the needs of current and future employees.  

To help become an ideal “Employer of the Future,” we have implemented a three-pronged strategy:

1) modernization, to attract the best talent.

2) customization, to develop and retain existing team members.

3) efficiency, to make work easier for each of our team members.

This strategy is helping us to live our mission: just as Banner has worked hard to optimize all aspects of the healthcare experience for customers and patients, we are equally dedicated to meeting the needs of our diverse, demanding workforce.

For HR professionals working
toward similar goals, these five tips are essential for recruiting and
retaining top talent, regardless of your industry:

Flexibility

Flexibility is key to recruiting and retaining top talent. Employees today want to decide how, when, and where they work. It can be as simple as allowing employees personal options in how they dress, while still aligning with company policy. This may not be a new concept in every field, but it is not yet common in healthcare. Another option is flexible scheduling: allowing people to work less than full time or a modified work schedule. Banner, which is the largest employer in Arizona, offers telecommuting options which have led to more than 2,200 team members working from home.

Customized career paths

It’s increasingly important
to balance what employees want today with what they will want tomorrow. More
and more, employees want to create their own career ladder, instead of feeling confined
to a narrow path. They also want more transparency–knowing where they stand
and receiving more frequent feedback.

Particularly at large organizations, policies need to work for a diverse base of employees with very different jobs and life experiences, ranging from Gen Zers to Baby Boomers and beyond. Workforce diversity is growing across all industries, and we, as HR pros, must customize our approaches and our interactions with employees to make sure their needs are being heard and addressed.

For example, physician burnout is a very serious issue in healthcare nationwide. Physicians have far different wants and needs than other employees, so we created a Physician HR Team to ensure that we listen to them and tailor our approach to better support them. We also created a Physician Development and Experience Team to help us design a new mobile technology, the Clinician Experience Project.

This technology offers short suggestions for physicians on all facets of their work. Whether it’s how to help a patient more efficiently, how to have a courageous conversation with a colleague, or how to improve patient experience scores, this library of over 600 insights and bits of advice, provides a tailored value-add for our talented physician community.

Fresh perspectives

We all develop job descriptions with criteria we would like new hires to meet. However, don’t let these expectations hinder you from making unorthodox strategic hires. Sometimes a person without the expected background will bring a fresh perspective that will shake things up for the better. Banner has made a conscious choice to hire from outside healthcare. We currently have 26 executives from other fields, including banking, retail, hospitality, and customer service, and this shift in hiring is serving us very well.

Creativity and innovation

Fostering creativity
throughout the workforce is critical for employee satisfaction and for ensuring
your organization continues to innovate and evolve. Redesigned workspaces can
help boost creativity and collaboration. Giving team members the opportunity to
share work space and ideas is an inexpensive perk. Other strategies, such as
“Focused Fridays” which consist of no meetings and limited emails allowing
leaders to spend more time with their front-line team members and reimagined meeting
agendas that put rules in place for meetings, including when, who, and how long
they should be, can optimize productivity and balance collaboration with other
demands on employee time.

Technology that helps

Technology has changed workflow, productivity, and information access, but often with added burdens for workers who are already under pressure. We are implementing a new human capital management system to help streamline processes.

Our HR department utilizes 11 different systems, but unfortunately, most don’t talk to each other. An employee might complete their annual goals, but those goals don’t download into their performance evaluation, which in turn doesn’t load into their compensation or their development summary. So, we’re deploying new technology to collapse those 11 pieces into one.

During rounds, nursing staff regularly visit each patient on a unit or meet with physicians or other colleagues to discuss each patient’s progress, setbacks, etc., since the previous rounds.

Banner recently rolled out a rounding app for our nursing leaders that helps them better address the needs and wants of our patients, as well as better engage with their direct reports. The app notifies housekeeping to clean a room once a patient checks out, recognizes team members on the spot for outstanding service, follows up on patients and medication, and sends out other alerts. These features help nursing leaders focus on what’s most important – their patients and team members.

Employees are the heart and
soul of any organization and HR practices must embrace that truth. The more you
work to understand what your employees want and need and what really motivates
them, the more you’ll be able to recruit and retain the very best people.

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Great training is key to creating a positive employee experience

You’d love to have employees working for you who are the type that always want to learn new things and grow, right?

Right.

Engaged
employees spend more of their time working to improve their performance through
training and development.

They are the
type of workers every company wants, and they expect their employers to create
a positive experience for them by matching their ambition with effective
training.

For firms and HR professionals trying to create a positive employee experience, it’s essential that your team of in-house trainers is ready to lead the way.

But who will
train the trainers?

Great managers don’t necessarily make great trainers.

So, if you truly want learning to take place, it’s best to give your manager/trainers the help they need to take training to the next level, so you can create a more positive employee experience.

Here are 10
ways to do that.

1. Provide
the big picture

Make sure you let trainees know right from the start why they’re learning whatever you’re teaching. Giving the big picture reinforces to trainees what needs to be accomplished by the end of the session. Then a trainer should break it down into smaller pieces, all the while referring back to the big picture so people see how it all fits together.

2. Repeat
names

When
training a small group, try to start the session off with a smile and a
personal greeting. Then attempt to use the attendees’ names at least three
times during the training session. It helps them feel like part of the process,
and will motive them to do better and pay attention.

If you tend
to forget people’s names, try associating them with someone famous or someone
you know.

Another
technique for retaining someone’s name is to repeat the person’s name back to
him or her when you first meet or when the person enters the training session,
if you already know them. For example you could say, “Hi, Jeff, it’s nice to
meet you.” Or “Hi, Mark, so glad you could make it.”

3. What’s in it for me?

If you want
adults to retain training material, you must show what’s in it for them.
Reason: Adults best retain information they consider useful. It’s the way we’re
hard-wired. If you fail to show adults how they’re invested in the material,
the cerebellum won’t let the info travel to the cerebrum to be stored. It’s
vital trainers tie the material to their audience.

4. Apply
what was learned

After you
show trainees what’s in it for them, you need to give them an immediate opportunity
to practice what they just learned.

The adage –
use it or lose it – applies very much to adult learners.

Whether it’s
in the form of a training exercise or a game, or letting the trainees demonstrate
something, they will retain it better the sooner they get to use their new skill
or knowledge.

5. Tie it to
experience

Adults are
not a blank slate. Every trainee brings some prior learning to the table, and that’s
especially true of adults.

Adult
learners have a lot of experience and knowledge they bring to a training session.
Whether it’s right or wrong, it will have an impact because it’s in their
brains and influences how they perceive things.

A great way
to get adult learners to retain training material is to tie it to something
they already know. By doing that, the brain doesn’t have to learn something
new. It just applies what it already knows to a new situation, which strengthens
retention and the learning pathways in the brain.

6. Repeat
key concepts

If you want
your audience to remember the key concepts, repeat them. Put them on a slide, a
dry erase board, a handout, etc., and repeat them several times.

Then at the
end of every session, review the key concepts again. Just like children learn
through repetition, so do adults.

7. Be brief

Keep your
instruction/lecturing time brief. Teach in 10- to 20-minute time chunks, then change
to an activity or group discussion. And every time you break from the short lecture
chunks, do a new activity. Even a fun activity becomes repetitive when done in
the same way every time.

8. Be simple

Don’t
overwhelm your audience with everything you know about the topic being covered.
Just give them the absolute-need-to-know information.

One of the
harder things to do as a trainer is break the information down into the
need-to-know information and the nice-to-know-but-not essential information. If
you try to cover too much at one time, your audience won’t retain the
information.

Trainers
need to ask themselves “What do my trainees need to know in order to do their
jobs efficiently and effectively, and keep their jobs?” The answer is what the
actual training session should be built around.

You can supplement the training with the nice-to-know stuff as handouts the trainees can take with them and read on their own time. Another way to think about it: If your training time was cut in half, which concepts would you include, and which would you make a handout?

9. Use honey

It’s not
only children that learn better with encouragement. Adults do, too. That’s why
the best trainers create a positive learning environment and celebrate small
successes, new learned skills and concepts, and deliver feedback in a positive
way.

10. Stay
relaxed

One factor
important to a fun training session is a relaxed, informal environment. If you
can avoid the classroom set-up, then do so. When a trainer stands up front and
everyone faces him or her lined up at desks or in chairs it creates a formal
lecture environment, which is rarely fun.

Get
creative. Set up small tables that you can walk between and interact with your
audience. Or if it’s a small group, having everyone sit around a big table is
better than the classroom set up. You just want trainees to face each other –
not just you – so they can interact easily with each other.

The goal is
to be close enough to engage the audience.

The post Great training is key to creating a positive employee experience appeared first on HR Morning.

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