On October 24, Hawaii employers learned how to manage organizational risk by providing more effective and engaging workplace training. The program covered strategies for mitigating risks in health and safety, legal compliance, financial controls, and corrective action. Participants experienced and practiced training techniques to help employees remember and apply what they’ve learned when back on the job.
Many attendees said they were uncomfortable conducting employee training and felt this program gave them the confidence to do it well. Participants praised the session, saying it was engaging and interactive, with a great flow and a terrific mix of knowledge and humor. Attendees also noted that the program was full of practical tips that could be easily and immediately applied to their work.
Using a combination of examples, stories, questions, activities, images, and humor, our guest speaker, Makana Risser Chai, presented an informative and interactive program centered around balancing the four elements of learning: Mental, Physical, Inspirational, and Emotional.
The mental stage focused on the “one big idea” and how trainees gather ideas and sensory information from seeing to hearing and touching. Physical learning is accomplished by creating activities for trainees to practice necessary skills or implement their ideas. Inspiration involves reflection, questioning, thinking, and evoking the “ah-ha” moments. Emotional learning or buy-in is where people remember, recall, and turn the desired training concepts into action.
Since most workplace training sessions are mandatory, it’s vital to create “psychological safety” where employees can be themselves, feel comfortable making mistakes, ask questions, take risks, and even disagree. Start a training session with a brief meet-and-greet so participants can get acquainted.
Successful training also engages the audience immediately. This can be accomplished with stories, questions, humor, a case study, or a pop quiz that elicits participation from the beginning. Storytelling is particularly compelling for engagement, especially when following the archetypal “hero’s journey,” which starts with a shared experience, moves into a new challenge, explores what is learned, and how actions taken resulted in a positive outcome. Encouraging trainees to share stories among themselves facilitates engagement, helps them see each other as teachers, and enables them to learn from each other. This exercise also helps create that psychological safety net and evokes emotional learning early in the process.
“Why should I care?”
Any employee training session must emphasize the “big why” or one big idea. Training should focus 95% of the time on the solutions, best practices, and desired outcomes. Trainers can explain the why, but trainee engagement and ownership foster successful retention and application of what is learned.
What do you want employees to do during and after a training session? Practice exercises for building skills, using tools, and demonstrating the “why” of company procedures are the best methods to reinforce desired on-the-job actions and behaviors.
The program demonstrated how using a combination of techniques, including images, humor, role-playing, improvisation, music, and other interactive elements, can create engagement and active participation for better retention of information — and makes learning fun.