Look around the room during many employee training sessions, and you'll see people texting, doodling, whispering or looking as though they are about to fall asleep. Ask these employees what they learned, and you're likely to get a blank stare. Increase the effectiveness of your employee training by using engaging techniques that make professional development fun.
Start With the Basics
To make employee training fun, start from with the basics and build upward. Zingerman's Deli, dubbed the "coolest small business in America" by Inc. Magazine, developed a training manual that features finger puppets of the founders, along with "fun pages." The training manual often accompanies employees and is frequently referred to in trainings. As a result of the fun-promoting atmosphere that the company cultivates, it is able to attract top-notch employees.
If you want your employees to pay more attention to your training than to their smartphones, incorporate plenty of interactive activities into the training. Role-playing is one way to get people out of their chairs and engaged, and it reinforces concepts very well. For example, when teaching customer service representatives how to deal with difficult customers, set up a series of scenarios for people to act out so that they get practice and feedback from their peers.
Music and Video
If you've ever heard a song that makes you have to tap your feet, you can recognize the power music has to make your presentations lively and fun. Use music for transitions, games and during breaks to help people remain alert and positive. Add video to your training sessions as well. An otherwise boring slide presentation can be jazzed up considerably when video is embedded in the slides. Make sure your videos are brief and attention-catching for the best effect.
Add games to your training to make it fun. Draw from children's games to get ideas for your trainings. You can easily modify a game such as "Red Light, Green Light" to use true and false statements drawn from the training instead. You'll guarantee that no one will be dozing off in their chair when you integrate fun activities that literally require people to think on their feet. Consider adding video games to your company's training menu as well. Organizations from the U.S. Army to Cold Stone Creamery use them as a fun way to train employees.
Elise Wile has been a writer since 2003. Holding a master's degree in curriculum and Instruction, she has written training materials for three school districts. Her expertise includes mentoring, serving at-risk students and corporate training.