The company spends gobs of time and money building a virtual classroom course for the staff to use online, from their office computers.
Upon sending a memo to the staff to tell them about the new mandatory training, the company learns that not all of the call centers are equipped with computers capable of accessing the new training course.
The negative impact is worse than wasted money and time: the company’s employees can conclude that they need the information in the course to do well at work. It’s left unsaid, but not unnoticed, that the company didn’t know enough about the employees’ working environment to develop training materials that they could actually use.
This teachable example of how not to train employees comes from “Radical Outcomes,” a book by Julia Stancampiano that could help you train your employees better.
Stancampiano, founder and CEO of Oxygen, a learning and development firm, wants you to end “random acts of training” by thinking more about the experience of learning and the business purpose of what you’re trying to teach.
There’s so much bad training out there: it’s so dense, so voluminous, so unconnected to business goals, that employees often disregard it. When training experiences are easy to digest, when employees can learn information in a sensible order without feeling overwhelmed, and when business analytics can show how use of the new material moved the needle on an important metric, those experiences are what Stancampiano calls “Radical Outcomes.”
Each chapter begins in a narrative style that presents the story of a fictional training manager’s work with Juliana and a team from Oxygen to create effective training materials. The rest of each chapter serves as a deeper look into Stancampiano’s playbook when Oxygen creates learning experiences for companies.
She starts by explaining Oxygen’s process: she works with stakeholders to identify desired business outcomes, learns about the employees to be trained, organizes information about what these employees have to know and do to achieve the desired outcomes, designs an effective, relevant training experience, builds and tests the experience and gets it ready for the company to deploy.
Stancampiano describes how to build an extraordinary team, with specific roles geared toward making the learning experience great. This team has to be ready to work with the audience in mind, stay focused on the desired business outcomes, and break down silos that keep stakeholders from collaborating.
Connecting the business outcomes to your audience of trainees helps make the training more meaningful. Good training has to be architected well, to provide structure to the learning experience and prevent audiences from becoming overwhelmed. Stancampiano explains how to do all of that, as well as how to make sure that people within the company with important knowledge don’t get left out.
Stancampiano also shares tips on how to work quickly and efficiently and how to keep corporate stakeholders aware of the work you’re doing to create the training experience.
After reading the book, you might just want to hire Oxygen for your next gigantic training project. But if you’d rather roll your own, you’ll find practical advice in Radical Outcomes, presented in a way that makes it easy to understand. You can tell Stancampiano applied her own method to writing the book; it reads as if she wants you to understand why good training experiences are important, and provides easy-to-understand advice for getting it done.