Technology and Product

How do I find great training content for my frontline workers?

Posted on: October 19, 2020Updated on: September 8, 2023By: JD Dillon, Chief Learning Architect

Content. It’s time consuming. It’s resource intensive. It’s expensive. And it’s an essential part of every company training strategy. 

Great content points your employees in the right direction. It provides foundational knowledge as they get started. It helps them build new skills as the business evolves. It helps them take the next step in their careers. Great content is especially important on the frontline, where constant change can lead to inconsistent performance without the proper support.

While turning a PowerPoint presentation into an eLearning module is pretty simple, building great content is hard. And it’s getting even harder thanks to never-ending operational changes, stakeholder requests and reskilling requirements. For many training teams, this creates a time and resource crunch that results in generic, one-size-fits-all training that doesn’t meet employee or business needs. 

Thankfully, there’s a solution to your content crunch. Marketplaces give you the option to outsource some of your content needs. This is especially helpful for common topics, such as health and safety, workplace harassment and job fundamentals. After all, why waste time and money building your own ladder safety training when someone already has that covered? Content partnerships help you keep pace with business change while focusing your internal resources on proprietary topics, such as product releases and process updates. 

But there’s a catch. All content marketplaces are not created equal. Too many training managers know what it’s like to spend thousands of dollars on big catalogues only to watch content sit untouched on the LMS shelf. Finding right-fit frontline content is even more challenging. Frontline workers have limited free time during their shifts and can’t afford to waste it sorting through hundreds of courses to find what they need to learn. They have unique development needs and therefore require a different type of content experience.

If you’re shopping for frontline-forward content, here are five essential buying criteria.

1: Content is practical

“Safety in the Workplace” may sound like a great title for a course. In reality, it’s probably an overstuffed, lengthy, boring firehose of information employees won’t remember when they need it. Frontline content should focus on specific, observable job behaviors. Instead of generic, one-size-fits-all courses, you should look for specific topics that focus on practical job knowledge and skill, such as personal protective equipment and slips/trips/falls. 

2: Content is digestible

Frontline employees barely have a minute to spare during their shifts. Therefore, your training content must fit into this available time. You may be able to pull workers out of the operation for a longer course once in a while. But if you want to promote continuous knowledge and skill growth, your content has to be short and to the point. Remember, 5 minutes per day adds up fast over the long term.

3: Content is engaging

Frontline employees have plenty of options for using their free time. Training is usually way down at the bottom of the “this is fun” list. In a TikTok and YouTube world, content has to be interesting, familiar, meaningful and high-value. Look for providers that put an emphasis on engagement and communicate typically boring information in unique ways. Otherwise, you won’t keep employees’ attention long enough for them to learn anything. 

4: Content is reinforced

Even great content can’t have an impact if it’s viewed once and immediately forgotten. Videos and modules are a great start, but additional resources are essential for long-term knowledge retention and application. Look for providers that use a strategic blend of content formats, including videos, assessment questions and performance support resources, to support a more personalized, adaptive delivery approach.

5: Content actually works

This list doesn’t include an entry for “content is cheap.” You should select content based on its ability to impact your business, not the sticker price. Of course, content has to be affordable. But would you rather buy $500 worth of ineffective content or $10,000 worth of content that drives cost savings of $300,000? Look for content providers with data to demonstrate the real-world effectiveness of their offerings. Completions and test scores aren’t enough. Ask for evidence of knowledge growth, behavior change and business results. 

These criteria will help you determine if a content marketplace fits your frontline needs. It’s also the criteria we used to build our own Axonify Content Marketplace. We’ve curated the largest collection of frontline training content available anywhere from in-demand providers like Vado, OpenSesame and Biz Library as well as our own Axonify Content Studio. Need to train grocery employees on how to handle grapes? We’ve got it. Want to make sure your retail associates know how to recommend the right way to wash and dry your clothing products? We’ve got it. Looking for ways to better communicate with customers while wearing a mask? Check out our sample video below! 65% of Axonified companies are taking advantage of our marketplace to help their frontline workers stay safe and productive. 

Content is a complicated puzzle. There are more options available than ever before. Technology makes it easy to build and deploy it. But proving the right content to the right people at the right time remains a lofty goal. The frontline requires a right-fit content experience to make sure you can keep up with business disruption and get the best value from your limited training resources. 

Be safe. Be well. Be kind to the frontline.

JD Dillon, Chief Learning Architect's Headshot

JD Dillon, Chief Learning Architect

JD Dillon became an expert on frontline training and enablement over two decades working in operations and talent development with dynamic organizations, including Disney, Kaplan and AMC. A respected author and speaker in the workplace learning community, JD also continues to apply his passion for helping frontline employees around the world do their best work every day in his role as Axonify's Chief Learning Architect.

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