Embed knowledge behaviours

Often when someone new starts in your business, the person training them (facilitator) will focus on two key areas of development:

  1. how to teach technical skills, and
  2. how to ensure staff remember key information such as business acronyms, answers to common questions and procedures

Teaching knowledge is often the wrong approach to training – this won’t allow individuals to become self-sufficient.

Training is designed to teach skills and capabilities, however teaching knowledge is ineffective and a waste of time.

During training, rather than forcing inductees to remember knowledge and answer multiple-choice questions in an examination, teach them the right Knowledge Behaviours. This includes, but not limited to:

  • Searching Knowledge Portals or Intranets for the process or answer
  • Who to contact within the organisation and how to get more information
  • Titles and locations of industry guidelines or regulations

What problem does it solve?

Teaching staff how to get the answers, rather than teaching them the answers allows them to become self-sufficient and also means they’ll know how to get access to the most up-to-date answers all of the time.

What is the benefit?

When staff know how to get the answers themselves, your business will be less reliant on classroom-style learning and rather invest more time and effort in keeping knowledge articles and documented procedures up-to-date. As new staff begin to trust the knowledge portals as the single-source-of-truth, they will also become the advocates for your business to ensure the content remains up-to-date.

What is the effort?

Before you can train staff how to access knowledge portals, you need to invest the time and resources ensuring that adequate articles, procedures and artefacts are published on your Knowledge Portals or Intranet. If inductees can’t find the answers quickly, they will not trust your method and soon rely on word-of-mouth answers from colleagues which may be unreliable.

Is it right for you?

Usually larger organisations have high staff turnover and a broad spectrum of topics to cover during induction training. If you’re a small business, this might be something you can put off until later.

HOWEVER if your business grows rapidly, do you have the right systems in place so people can find the information they need themselves without you needing to train them?

Example

During a classroom-based induction training program, the facilitator Jeremy is teaching the group how to process a sales order. The business sells seven different types of mobile phone plans, each with a different price and benefits such as data allowance, call limits and international roaming. In the past, information about the plans was printed for the inductees and they were expected to remember the benefits of each mobile plan.

For this new group however, Jeremy has shown the inductees how to search using keywords on the Intranet to show the mobile plans. He also shows them how to save the landing page to their favourites for quick access, as they’ll need to refer to this on most customer enquiries.

Staff will now always have the most up-to-date mobile plans and they will spend less time memorising the plans and rather focus more on sales skills and helping customers choose a plan that best meets their needs.