Practical Knowledge Beats The Training Manual

Bloomfire Admin
2 mins
Practical knowledge

You know that the time and resources your company sinks into training new hires each year is costing you, but have you ever really calculated how much? Research conducted by the Association for Talent Development (ATD) found that organizations spend $1,798 on average for every hour of employee training. That’s a sizable investment, and it’s only well spent if onboarding is effective. To make sure your training is valuable, you need to go beyond the training manual and apply practical knowledge.

Why Traditional Training Falls Short

Almost all onboarding and training programs are focused solely on giving participants basic information about their job and the company, which in most cases amounts to only a small portion of the information new employees need to be effective. Obviously, employees that aren’t effective in their role are costing you money.

This is true of all employees, but it’s especially apparent in the sales department, explains Bill Cushard, head of training at ServiceRocket. “If it takes salespeople two years to make their first sale, that’s not only a lost opportunity, but I’ve been paying this person for two years,” Cushard says. Paying for someone who can’t perform their role competently is simply a bad deal — and worse, you risk losing sales or customers because of their mistakes.

The problem at many organizations isn’t a failure to invest in training. Instead, it’s a matter of not providing the kind of training that caters to how people learn. So much of the knowledge that people need to do their jobs well can’t be easily taught in a class or with a training manual. It’s what could be called “tribal knowledge” — all the practical knowledge and everyday tricks that top performers have learned over years to make their work more productive and effective.

Unfortunately, there’s just no realistic way to cram all of that information into those first few weeks of onboarding–at least not in a way that sticks. But new technology and research are helping businesses come up with ways to transfer “tribal knowledge” more successfully to both new and current employees. Ongoing training can help employees continue to grow professionally and increase their value to their organization.

Transferring Practical Knowledge Through Social Learning

People are the most valuable asset of every successful business. But they’re only as good as what they know. With social learning tools, you can ensure that all the information your most senior employees and top performers have at their disposal is available to even the newest members on the team. And you can make sure employees have fun and are invested in the work they do at the same time.

Employees that feel they’re part of a solid, supportive community are the ones that will stick around. That means you spend less money on future hires and end up with a workforce that cares about their job. Ultimately, that emotional investment in their work will mean more for their success than any specific pieces of knowledge you fit into your onboarding sessions. A new approach to training and learning with a focus on sharing practical knowledge can help employees stay engaged and maximize their value.

To learn more, check out our eBook, “Knowledge Management and Training: Why Social Learning Works.” It delves into six methods for more effective training and why better knowledge management is so important in enabling employees.

September 2, 2015

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