Training should happen year round, but there is no question that during the summer months, many workplaces shift into low gear and this can open up additional bandwidth to scale up online training. With staff out on vacation and in many industries, lower customer demand, it is often the case that employees have just a bit more breathing space on the job from late June to late August. Rather than let employees sit idle as they wait for incoming calls or work orders, however, this downtime can be effectively used to scale up one’s training program. To do this in a cost-effective way without additional staff, the first step is to chose an effective learning management system.
Train Interns Without Increasing Onsite Trainers
Kelly Fekete is a managing editor at a large publishing house in Manhattan and has been overseeing summer interns for nearly a decade. “It can be great, but things can also go really wrong,” she explains. “When I first started here, I was confident the interns – most of them are recent college graduates – were already competent. I was wrong! They generally come in thinking they know a lot and if my training program goes well, they leave realizing they have a lot more to learn.” How does Fekete manage her interns? “I pushed to introduce a very robust online training system a few years back. Now, they start training before they arrive, but they are also completing training modules on the job every day. This means that if they don’t have an assignment, they are not just sitting their idle. It also enables me to automate a lot of feedback, which Millennials really crave.” Fekete adds that the return on investment has been high: “I couldn’t do this amount of training on my own. The online system helps me offer a more comprehensive intern experience over all, and as a result, we’re now attracting stronger interns. There is a huge ROI.” For more on training summer interns, also see eLeap’s recent post: Training Essentials for Your 2017 Interns.
Modular Learning Can Optimize Employees’ Idle Time
Of course, it’s not just interns who often find themselves with extra time on their hands over the summer months. Full-time workers may also have more downtime as business lulls, and as a result, the summer can be a great time to scale up training. Kevin Sullivan, a manager of a ski equipment and apparel company, knows just how slow the summer months can be. “It’s true, we’re not exactly busy, but we have a lot of preparation work that goes on in the summer months and this includes training,” he explains. “I do want to keep my core staff employed all summer and busy, and that’s why I’ve created a pretty robust training program. We use short modules – stuff you can watch and take in on your mobile in just about 5 minutes – to introduce new product lines and market details. It’s been really effective.”
Scale Up Online Training for Future Leaders
The final reason summer is often an ideal time to focus on training is that when business is a bit sluggish, it is easier to move employees into new and more challenging rolls. Sullivan, for example, uses the time to identify and train employees for new roles across his organization: “The additional time and low customer demand means that over the summer, I can work with employees who have a desire to move up in the company.” He adds that with a slower pace and fewer potential swerve balls coming one’s way, stepping into a new position can be easier and less risky at this time of year as well.
Of course, any advancement requires an appropriate degree of leadership training. While there is no one way to train leaders, there are at least a few key skills that any leader must have prior to arriving in a leadership position. Some of eLeap’s recommended training videos for future leaders include:
- Leadership Feedback: What employees want to tell you…but don’t!
- Leadership Capsules: Providing Performance Feedback
- Leverage the Power of Generations
- Scaling a Business: Building Leadership
- What to Say When: Manager Collection
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