In this article:
- What to consider when optimising skills transfer
- 4 Drawbacks of formal training for skills transfer
- Using the 70/20/10 model
- 4 Important learning activities for staff training and development
- Video-enabled training and employee development
The skills your employees possess are the foundation for the success of your organisation. Understanding how to transfer these skills into, and across the organisation will help you tap into hidden potential and create a stronger, more adaptable workforce.
For more effective staff training and development, research shows people need access to learning opportunities that are:
Unfortunately, this is difficult to attain. Conventional training and employee development methods often struggle to achieve even moderately successful skills transfer across their people.
Many organisations invest heavily in learning technologies to try and keep up with learning needs in an ever changing economy. But, just as Amazon hasn’t improved books, most learning technologies only really address issues of access and scale.
A good online training tool for staff should address these issues of efficiency, but more importantly it should increase the effectiveness of your staff training and development initiatives.
Before we get to the technology, let’s understand why you’d want to promote skills transfer in your own organisation.
What to consider when optimising skills transfer
It’s important to consider both hard and soft skills when trying to optimise your learning processes.
Essentially, hard skills are those that help you do your job, and soft skills are the skills that help you do it well.
What are hard skills?
Hard skills are typically the types of skills you would use to actually do your job, these would include things like:
- Using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system
- Making a sales call
- Writing an email
- Conducting interviews
- Use of systems and job-related softwares
These skills are easier to transfer, because the repetition required to embed this sort of skill is normally done ‘on-the-job’. Though there are still more effective ways of learning these skills, they are traditionally a normal part of training human resources in an organisation.
What are soft skills?
Soft skills are more tricky to transfer. They’re the skills that help you be better at what you do by informing the underlying attitude, methodologies, habits and other important skills that positively impact ordinary tasks.
According to an article by LinkedIn Learning, the top 5 most important soft skills that employees should work on are:
- Creativity - A good organisation should always be evolving with the times, having creative employees will help to secure its future.
- Persuasion - Understanding how to appeal to your customers, offering solutions that will persuade them to buy and ultimately grow your business.
- Collaboration - Fast moving markets require higher and higher levels of efficiency within an organisation, good collaboration is absolutely essential to achieving this.
- Adaptability - As problems change, your people need to understand them and adapt their strategies. A workforce that can adapt to a changing environment is key.
- Time Management - Spending time on what most impacts your organisation should be what your employees prioritise. Understanding how to make the best use of their time is an extremely important soft skill.
According to a workplace report released by LinkedIn, 57% of senior leaders say soft skills are more important than hard skills.
It’s never been more important to find better ways of empowering professional development activities for employees, ensuring no one in your organisation is left behind.
Developing hard skills is relatively easy, because progress can be evidenced by how well a person performs the hard skill.
No amount of data can accurately express how persuasive, adaptable, or creative a person might be.
Soft skills are far more complex to teach or track, and requires a learning technology that allows for context specific, qualitative analysis and feedback.
4 Drawbacks of formal training for skills transfer
Would you explain to someone how to drive a car with classroom training and expect them to parallel park afterwards?
1. Formal training doesn’t allow learners to apply theories in a real life situation
Learning about something in a classroom setting is a stark contrast to a work environment, where different variables affect performance. Imagine the difficulty of driving in rush hour and how this would differ from driving being explained in a classroom setting.
2. The teaching style is designed for the masses rather than tailored to the individual
Each employee will have a different level of experience and skills to build on, develop and share.
3. There is a low rate of transfer into practice
Learners display high levels of understanding after being presented with a theory, which lures training teams to believe they are being effective.
In reality, less than 5% of course attendees implement what they have learnt through a presentation style, classroom training only approach (Joyce and Showers, 2002).
4. Time and cost constraints
It can be expensive and time-consuming to mobilise groups of people to attend formal training.
Discover ‘A vision for learning organisations’:
Using the 70/20/10 model
The 70/20/10 model is much talked about amongst learning and development (L&D) professionals for providing more contextualised learning experiences:
- 70% of our learning comes from challenging assignments and on-the-job experiences
- 20% of our learning is developed from our relationships with other people in our networks and the feedback we receive
- 10% of our learning comes from formal training, like courses, workshops and programmes
This model can be applied effectively to both introducing new skills to an organisation, in which all employees start at the same proficiency level, as well as transferring existing, tacit knowledge — an often underestimated or completely missed skills transfer opportunity, often lost when employees leave an organisation.
4 Important learning activities for staff training and development
Research indicates that it’s not what you learn, but how you learn it that most affects the extent to which you can apply your new knowledge to problems.
Over-reliance on polished content and summative assessment undermines adaptivity by reinforcing passive, disempowered learning processes.
Rather than attempting to transfer knowledge using only courses and programs, learning should happen incrementally by:
#1 Understanding the theory behind the practice
Giving employees opportunities to learn theory in personalised ways ensures deeper understanding.
An online repository of professional learning content and development activities for employees and managers allows them to dip in and out at times that suit them and doesn’t cause conflict with other work responsibilities.
Using embedded discussion boards within individual modules gives employees the chance to ask questions and work together to find solutions.
#2 Seeing authentic examples of practice in context
Moving staff training online by establishing an online community where employees can see and share real-life examples of best working practices creates a collaborative learning space.
Allowing staff to record and share their work starts growing an unending resource of contextualised training material.
When people can relate to the material they’re consuming, they’re more likely to succeed at implementing it in their own role.
#3 Practising in context and getting feedback
Providing opportunities for people to record themselves with video for review and analysis is a powerful learning opportunity.
Giving staff access to contextualised feedback using simple video-editing tools and time-stamped comments creates an entire ecosystem for collective improvement.
#4 Working collaboratively in context to refine skills over time
Using technology, like an online platform for staff to work together and share ideas, avoids impacting on the day-to-day scheduling.
Time-shifted online collaboration helps to maximise time efficiency and allow employees to connect regardless of distance.
Enabling employees to engage in these professional learning activities in the context of their daily jobs is what increases new skills transfer into practice from only 5% in traditional transmission-based learning, to 90% with ongoing, incremental learning. Using video makes that process scalable, sustainable and affordable.
Explore the power of video for staff training and development:
3 More uses for video-enabled staff training and development
Whether it be for standardised or bespoke training, coaching or employee onboarding, there is an underlying consensus that video is highly effective at embedding adult learning; an understanding that is backed and proven by research.
#1 Standardised training
Every organisation has training requirements that are common to more than one employee; it is therefore important for everyone to receive it to the same standard. This would normally involve the hard skills employees require to do their jobs.
Organisations who use video to record their training provisions are able to ensure standardisation with ease. This process helps to prevent knowledge gaps within teams and departments as all information is recorded on film.
#2 Sharing of standards
Another application of video technology is the sharing of organisational standards. This is another important dynamic for organisations as standards influence business outcomes such as client retention, public image and reputation.
Video can provide an engaging, yet powerful format for Human Resources and Learning & Development departments to distribute expected standards.
#3 Onboarding new staff
When a new employee is in initial training, there is always lots of new information to be digested. This can range from day-to-day responsibilities and expectations, to company history, image, or standards.
It’s important for this information to be understood and embedded for successful onboarding.
The introduction of video technology into the initial training process makes this learning curve more manageable. Critical information can be presented in the most effective way that research suggests. Also, employees can engage with the videos at times that suit them and also revisit them after their initial training.