Are your employees passionate about improving their knowledge and skills? Don’t expect it to happen on its own or happen overnight. You need to encourage that mindset, and it isn’t always easy.
When most companies implement strategies for branding and marketing, they tend to do so from the inside out. In other words, they focus on selling their products and services to their customers. This is important for obvious reasons, but it’s not the only kind of planned communication that should take place. Successful businesses also use branding and marketing to tell their internal audience – employees, for example – about the benefits of training.
Your goal should be to develop a culture in which professional development is a way of life. This is accomplished by celebrating the rewards associated with improvement from the minute a new employee joins your team. Rather than thinking of campaigns (earn this certification and get a trip to Jamaica), it is often more effective to think of training as a lifestyle.
Start training workers from the minute they come on board and never stop. Give them options and let them choose which topics they would like to focus on. Then connect long-term achievements to long-term rewards.
Many of our clients have created an internal brand for their training programs. It’s handy to be able to refer to something like “Companyname Successtrack” or “Companyname University” to remind employees that part of their job is getting better at their job. You can make a logo and put it on t-shirts, hats and banners. You can even create a unique website that allows employees to see what programs are offered or perhaps track their progress.
The key is to be positive (instead of telling workers the bad things that will happen if they don’t take part in training, tell them all of the good things that happen when they do) and consistent. Make sure they see your training program’s branding elements in the break room, the backroom and maybe even the bathroom. Put it in every issue of the company newsletter and make it prominent on the company intranet.
If you are diligent with your training-first messaging, soon your team will look forward to opportunities to take part. Once improvement is your new “normal,” then avoiders become the exception rather than the rule.
If you have questions about training programs, give me a call. I’ve got a lot of ideas for making training fun and productive.