When it comes to training in the workplace, getting the right content to the right people at the right times is one of the biggest challenges organizations face.
Designing and delivering content can take up a lot of time, resources and budget and if it doesn’t impact employee performance, it can all feel like a wasted investment.
Learning how to close the content gap on your frontline will help your people develop the foundational skills they need to perform better: they’ll stay safe and productive, and you’ll notice the difference in your sales and customer satisfaction rates. And you can stop putting sub-par content in front of teams, and spending money that doesn’t increase productivity or boost the KPIs that matter most to your business.
During AxoniCom LIVE 2021, Spencer Thornton, SVP of Curation at OpenSesame sat down with JD Dillon, our Chief Learning Architect, for a session dedicated to learning about how the value of getting the right content to the right people, faster. Their chat offered many insights into common misconceptions about training content and examples of useful decision-making strategies to source the best content for your own business.
More doesn’t always mean better
It’s easy to mistake quantity of content for quality when companies are looking for the right training tools for their workers. But when not enough time is spent curating and organizing the content, a lot of it ends up going unseen and unused so volume is no longer a meaningful metric.
Great content should be designed to solve a problem in your workplace, not every problem. If, for example, you’re building safety training content, it should be super-specific to the habits you’re trying to reinforce, like addressing the challenges of using pieces of personal protective equipment or preventing back injuries related to lifting procedures in your logistics operations.
“It varies dramatically from business to business, but at the end of the day, the adults need to know the training that they’re doing has a direct and immediate impact on their daily job duties,” says Thornton. “We as L&D professionals really need to focus on the learner: How is the content presented? What are the learning objectives? And what’s in it for them?”
Start with your end goal in mind. What problem are you trying to solve? Then curate the resource that’s going to help the most people solve that problem in a way that meets them where they are. That way, the learner is centered in the conversation and is clear on what the objectives of the training are and why it’s worth their time.
Making the right content decisions for your frontline
Smartly curated, relevant content that speaks to issues directly affecting frontline workers at their jobs will help solve engagement problems and the one-kind-of-content-for-all fallacy.
If you want to build an organizational culture of learning, consider starting with something out of the box. “When you open the door to different types of content, modalities, delivery modalities, you’re also opening the door to a lot more variety and meaning,” offers JD. So when it’s time to roll out a new program or system, a lighter approach can transform even the dreaded annual compliance training into something that will keep them coming back more often.
You should also adjust the content to fit the worker context. Keep in mind who you’re trying to solve these problems for and establish what their day-to-day looks like.
Following the example of safety training, if you’re trying to set a standard of safety behaviors you expect from all your employees, delivering that message to someone who works in a contact center versus someone who works at home, versus someone who works on the manufacturing line, might look very different. Where one employee might be best served by a video, that format may not be as effective for the person on the manufacturing line where they’re working in a busy, noisy environment.
Build, borrow or buy?
Every organization varies in terms of L&D budgets and internal structure—some have large teams, some have small teams, some industries move a lot faster than others. So the speed of change is a critical factor when determining whether to build, borrow or buy content.
The other key consideration is cost; not only the production costs, but maintenance costs as well. If you build a course, you’ll need the resources to maintain it, especially in the tricky area of compliance.
“To keep the resources in-house means making sure that they’re always up-to-date, especially with fines and the number of noncompliance in businesses increasing,” says Thornton. “But if you build it in-house, what is the opportunity cost of what your people are not working on?”
Don’t have a big budget for the upkeep? Or already have training content? Find a content partner you trust with a results-driven approach that can help you breathe new life into your existing libraries. They’ll be able to look at the content you have, then figure out the best way to serve it up to your employees.
Frontline-focused content can make a big difference when done right. Focus on the problems you want to solve, take advantage of the stuff you’ve already got and be willing to evolve your content in a way that better meets today’s needs so you can start delivering the value that your people will really notice.