Have you ever heard of the kaizen concept? It is a Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement of working practices which is designed to improve productivity, to reduce waste and to humanise the workplace, according to Q-1. Why talking about this? Well, because constant improvement should be the goal of every company and should be one of the main outcomes of a learning process and a corporate training program. And you need to constantly reinforce learning to get to that results.
Talking about the learning and development programs, is corporate training really effective in a digital era where information becomes old in no time and the knowledge retention rates are constantly decreasing? Well, yes, it definitely is. But keep in mind that corporate training programs are just the start of a continuous learning which is required for personal and professional development and for business growth. Thus, focus your efforts to reinforce learning.
So, unfortunately, corporate training is not enough to improve performance and to ensure knowledge retention and to reinforce learning, it must be followed by a clear strategy which involves an on-the-job environment that encourages the employees to practically apply what they have learned in training.
Why is this fundamental? Because it’s the proper way to make learners realise that the training knowledge is directly relevant to their daily tasks, that it makes their work easier and more effective and that, on the long-term, it boosts their performance rates.
Let’s see a few suggestions for reinforcing learning after a training program in order to get the best out of your learning and development strategy.
Collaborative learning is an effective method to reinforce learning and it should be fully exploited by an organisation in getting the best outcome out of the learning and development strategy. How can you do that? First of all, you can encourage learners to write about the challenges they have faced in their jobs and how this has changed after a course.
Moreover, learners can share insights into how a certain training has been helpful for a certain work situation. Why? Because concrete examples of usability are the best motivation for employees to get fully engaged in the learning process; they don’t only check the learning goals of the company, but they also make their job easier, so knowledge retention become their own goal.
You can also implement a program in which trainees become trainers, so that every person who is trained is further expected to train others. This is a great method to create a culture of learning within the company and to ensure that people fully internalise the knowledge they receive and they are able to pass it on to their colleagues.
An essential step to reinforce learning after a corporate training program is to provide learners with additional support resources, such as step by step procedures, FAQ, guides, etc. This is really helpful because people must have access to learning materials in order to consolidate the information they get and to have a place to return to when they have uncertainties.
Basically, training reinforcement does not imply memorisation, but rather a context to further provide content that allows learners to think critically about the way in which they can turn knowledge into skills, into professional superpowers to solve job related issues.
In terms of mentoring programs, they translate into long-term professional relationships between experienced employees and people who are seeking advice when it comes to professional development.
This is a great way of reinforcing learning post training because people tend to assimilate information better when it comes from other members in their team and also because this creates a collaborative environment.
Another key aspect in order to reinforce learning is that managers need to be involved in the corporate training process in the sense that they need to be aware of the training programs implemented in the company and of the expected behaviour changes in order to be able to have a clear overview.
Moreover, you should tie the employee development goals to the organisation development objectives, so that the employee can feel that he or she is part of a bigger picture, in which his/her own professional objectives matter and can be achieved.
Corporate training programs, no matter how qualitative, are the first step of the professional development journey and without being further supported and exploited, they are not enough to lead to long-term results.
Use strategies and methods that reinforce learning after a training program and be sure that the employees know how to use the knowledge they receive.