Aging services employees generally see training as something to be endured instead of an opportunity to learn and grow, and we only have ourselves to blame. They gather in the conference room, read the new Infection Control policy, sign the attendance sheet and go. If you think the material is boring, so will the staff, and they will walk away believing it’s unimportant or doesn’t apply to them.
The same can be said of basic online training assigned to the entire staff. Sitting in front of a computer with a voice talking at you can quickly lose appeal and focus.
A hybrid training model combining the accessibility and efficiency of quality and engaging online learning with face-to-face reinforcement offers the best of both worlds and maximizes learning retention.
Here are three tips for making that in-person training experience a win-win for everyone!
- Sell Yourself, Then the Material
Introduce yourself by sharing your journey and experience that has led to you becoming the subject matter expert on this material. The staff needs to buy into you before they buy into the material. Show them your knowledge, passion, and interest in this subject. If you aren’t invested in the material, they can’t be.
If the staff already knows you – strengthen that connection by sharing some way that this material has positively affected you and your job, or the lives of residents under their care.
- Know Your Audience then Make it Personal
You should know whom you are training and how this training impacts THEIR work habit(s) – is it a new procedure, a new concept, or reinforcing previously gained knowledge – know how this audience will use this training. Adult learners focus on how new information affects them personally. How does this apply to Dining Servers versus Reception? If you don’t know, ask them. Demonstrating that you care about how this training impacts them can fuel engagement. Get into their world. No training should be a lecture; it should be a conversation that embraces the connection between the trainer, employee, and material. Highlight those connections.
- Negativity is Opportunity:
You have seen more than a few eye-rolls when there is an “in-service” or training scheduled. Employees are not afraid to walk into the training space and immediately say “I don’t know why we have to do this”, “I already know this” or “I have more important things to do for the residents” Acknowledge them and that the work they do is vital. Then let them know that this training is to give them tools to be an even better care partner or make their job easier – then prove it!
Some might say ignore the ‘negativity’ – but if you lean into it knowing they are actually communicating and connecting with you, you can take advantage of that to engage them and bring them into the training.
P.S. It's OK to Mix It Up and Have FUN!
From Fire Drills to Hand Washing to Customer Service, there is a way to have fun and get higher engagement
- Create a Jeopardy game around a training topic.
- Walk the floors after training to quiz folks and offer a fun reward.
- Have people seated alphabetically by the last letter of the first name, or by the favorite color - for no reason.
- Take a 2-minute dance break and play some fun music.
- Occasionally say “POP QUIZ” and ask a random fun fact.
- Use Flashback cards as an icebreaker! Check them out, they are a ton of fun.
Flashback in Action