Backing up the repertoire of skills and knowledge of your employees is just as important as creating it. Organizations do spend a lot of resources in the form of time, money and effort to train their new hires, but the bitter reality is- not all of it is retained. So what do we do about it? To begin with, let’s understand why we want our employees to learn. Because we want them to perform better at work. Simple. When they have the complete knowledge of their work as well as the problems that they may encounter, they are obviously going to be more productive and fast. Now let us imagine you have a sales associate training program to familiarize your sales associates with the counter check in and check out procedures, on-the-floor tasks that include accessing a database frequently in order to answer customer queries related to product warranties, prices, promotions etc. Let’s say your group of sales associates is a mixed one, it has new recruits as well as existing ones. Five typical situations may arise with respect to learning:
- An employee learns something for the first time. He learns to log on to the LMS for the very first time, learns to use the database and so on.
- An employee has gained some understanding of how things work, but wants to know more out of curiosity. Like how can he use the LMS for troubleshooting.
- An employee applies what he learnt during training. He follows the steps to find what personal promotions a particular loyalty program customer is entitled to.
- An employee encounters a problem. He constantly gets an error message of “Invalid action. Please try something else” and tries to find out how to fix this issue so that he may be able to carry on with his work.
- An employee figures out a new way to solve a problem or perform a task. While doing so, he adapts to a new approach by himself or by collaborating with his peers. Either way, he builds upon his existing knowledge.
These typical situations are based on the model proposed by Bob Mosherand Conrad Gottfredson to identify the “Five moments of need” that activate learning. These moments of need provide an easy to follow framework to deliver performance support or just-in-time learning to your employees. For example, take situation 4. If a sales associate knows he has quick access to the company LMS which has extensive troubleshooting solutions, he will use it at the time of need. However, a word of caution here. The content on your LMS should be extensive, but at the same time it should also be user-friendly. Divide your content into small chunks, so that everything they may be looking for is easy to search. If the solution to “Invalid action. Please try something else” is somewhere in the middle of a 5 or 10 page document, employees would be reluctant to use the LMS. Another thing to be kept in mind when providing performance support is, that the assistance should be extremely readily available. The sales associate should not have to leave customers on the sales floor and go running to access the LMS. It should be right there where they work- on the sales floor and checkout counters. A good way to do this is to make your LMS multi-device. Establish a Bring Your Own Device policy so that tablets, mobiles, PDAs- all can become useful tools of just-in-time learning.
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