I recently viewed the classic videos in 6 TED Talks That Anyone Designing Online Training Should Watch. The Talks inspired me to think of videos that are not directly related to training that nevertheless inspire me when I’m designing learning experiences.
A recent employee survey by Software Advice, a site that researches learning management systems, reveals thought-provoking data on how corporate learning programs can drive employee engagement. It’s logical that studies of employee engagement involve understanding training program satisfaction. Investment in employee training is viewed positively by employees and prospective employees alike, as indicated in lists of “the best companies to work for”, because it is viewed as an investment in people.
Gamification concepts have been employed since the 1960’s, 1970’s or 1980’s, depending on whom you talk to and how you define the term. Others claim that gamification has been in use since 1912, when Cracker Jack® boxes began to include prizes. Whenever the term originated, “gamification” is certainly an important buzzword in business today. Though, perhaps it’s technically incorrect to call gamification a “buzzword” now, as the term made the Oxford English Dictionary’s shortlist of Word of the Year in 2011.
Imagine an Angry Birds for teaching sales training. Or a Super Mario Bros. for employee on-boarding. The Sims for sexual harassment compliance training.
Gamification is hot. And why not? It's youthful, clever, and promises to transform mundane tasks into fun activities. It speeds up learning and increases productivity in the process — that's a lot going for it.
But not everyone in the L&D community is buying the hype. At least they're not without some serious reservations.
Now more than ever, it's critical for learning professionals to address the incredible costs of high employee turnover. The trends are well known: People are staying at jobs for less time than they use to. And that's leading to extra costs, lost revenue, and generally, a tough environment for organizations to just stay afloat, much less thrive amidst this steady turnover and employee disengagement.
First, let me show you some statistics:
- 25 percent of Fortune 500 managers change jobs each year.
- 6.2 months is the break-even point for new managers, (from a Monster.com 2007 survey).
- 22 percent of staff turnover occurs in the first 45 days of employment .
- 46 percent of rookies wash out in the first 18 months (per Leadership IQ).
- The cost of losing an employee in the first year is estimated to be at least three times the salary.
- New employees who went through a structured on-boarding program were 58 percent more likely to be with the organization after three years.
So what can be done?
When a new employee joins an organization, they spend the majority of their time going through the on-boarding process, mostly with learning and development people like me. So ultimately, L&D pros are in a unique position to make a direct and measurable impact on employee retention and performance by rethinking the on-boarding process.Rethinking On-Boarding
There are many ways to design on-boarding programs. Just do a Google search for onboarding, and you'll find plenty of ideas. But what we really need to focus on is trying to get people engaged and up to speed more quickly. In other words, to reduce time to proficiency. If we can get a new employee up to a productive level quickly, where they're contributing value to the organization, not only will they be effecting your organization's bottom line, but also increasing client satisfaction, and feeling more engaged personally.
Learning professionals need to think beyond the traditional new employee training programs they typically design and facilitate. Here are four ways we can do that:Think Socialization
You're probably familiar with Angry Birds, the massively popular iPhone game. What is it about this game that's so addictive? And how can learning and development pros tap into that stickiness to get people this excited about training programs?
Most new employee training looks pretty much the same. A new worker joins the organization, and for the first week we put them in a training class, have them fill out piles of paperwork, and walk them through who's who at the company and teach them to do their jobs. Different jobs require different levels of new-hire training, but the formula is essentially the same.
The generation of young people now entering the workforce are the first to have spent their entire childhoods surrounded by video games. And it seems they may be bringing some by-products of all that time with controllers in hand with them to their first jobs. In fact, just a few months ago, British researchers found that avid adult gamers can actually confuse real life for video games. Seriously.