As modern industries continually evolve, they require their workers to do so as well. Modern employees in just about every industry–communications, finance, healthcare, etc.–must keep pace with this evolution and update their skillsets. How can your employees master the skills they need in as little time as possible? Josh Kaufman, author and business coach, has devised a method for teaching yourself any skill in just a few steps. Today, we will apply the advice given by his book, The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything…Fast!, to the corporate world.
1. Focus on Learning One Skill at a Time
While your employees might need to learn several new skills, the best way to go about learning them all is to focus on only one skill at a time. This also applies to general skills. For example, if your goal is for employees to learn the new operating system, focus on only one program at a time. You must prioritize the subject matter of your training course. Consult with management or human resources to determine the skills that take precedence in the current training program.
2. Define the Target Performance Level
You need to set goals if you want to achieve anything. Do your employees need to master this skill or just brush-up on the topic? Will they need to only grasp the basics of a new software program or will working with this software require more in-depth knowledge? Are they trying to attain a professional certification or just required to participate in the training? Again, you should consult with management (and possibly each department) to determine the goals for the training course.
3. Break Down the Skill into Smaller Skills (Sub-Skills)
Instead of getting overwhelmed by seemingly huge task, break each skill into smaller components. Think of this in terms of an essay outline: you have the overarching skill (I), then the supporting skills (A, B, C), which have supporting skills of their own (1, 2, 3). Instead of focusing on the overall skill that needs to be learned (using the accounting department’s new record-keeping software), focus on the components of that skill (locating old records, adding new records).
4. Dedicate Time for Learning
Even if your employees are utilizing a self-directed training program, they need to establish a block of time for learning. You could either set aside a block of time during the workday or get them to commit to spending a certain amount of time learning over the course of the day. This time should be used to absorb and apply the knowledge or skills.
5. Seek out Feedback from Peers or Trainers
Help your employees stay motivated by giving them feedback! Periodically meet with team members individually or as a group to discuss the training. Monitor their progress and check in with employees who seem to be lagging behind. You could also integrate tutorials or examples so that learners can compare their results to the standard.
Industries across the globe are evolving and the workforce must evolve with them. These are just a few suggestions that can help your team rapidly acquire skills in this ever-changing world. No matter your industry, combining knowledgeable employees with a culture of learning will always give your company a competitive edge!